fashion dictionary: MINAUDIERE
- women's accessory; a small, decorative case made of rigid materials used for carrying small items such as cosmetics or jewelry.
Designed to fit easily in one hand, carry your bits and bobs, and basically replace your standard clutch with it's miniature convenience, the first minaudière appeared in the 1930's. It's invention has been credited to Charles Arpels (of Van Cleef & Arpels, the ultra-luxurious Parisian jewelry designers) who was surprised to see his friend's wife, Florence Jay Gould, stowing her lipstick, powder compact, cigarettes, and lighter in a Lucky Strike cigarette tin. Genius! A lightbulb went off and the minaudière was born!
So what exactly distinguishes a minaudière from a clutch? It's hard shell and it's small stature. Simple as that. The classic Van Cleef & Arpels minaudière mimics the slim rectangular design of Florence's humble tin box (vamped up with gold, platinum, a diamond clasp, a retractable watch and tiny interior compartments) but today's minaudière can be any shape at all. (See the gallery below for some great ones.) If you still prefer to label minaudières as clutches, that's totally fine, no one is going to call you out, but we've been seeing minaudieres everywhere and knowing the difference will keep you in the loop!