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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2003

New book offers more than history of handbags

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Handbags date back to the Greek and Roman civilizations when men needed a holder for their coins. Men wore alms bags in the Crusades. And women wore hooks under their skirts. Later, pockets were attached to long ribbons. Women had to reach through slashes in skirts to find scissors or keys.

We learn such facts in yet another pretty picture book on purses, Handbags: A Peek Inside a Woman's Most Trusted Accessory by Barbara G.S. Hagerty (Running Press, $24.95).

The fact that it is the second bag book this season is testimony to the recent preoccupation with handbags.

It was not until around 1880 that luggage makers began to make sturdy bags with handles for women. As women began working outside the home at the turn of the century, bags became more serious.

They have long been a stylish symbol ranging from the humorous to the no-nonsense. Novelist Anne Rivers Siddons writes in the foreword that “purses are about power.” A woman shows who she is when she takes her purse out the door.

The writer presents the subject as if it were a journey every woman can understand. It's not just about the outside. It's also the items inside that empower her “to face life.”

THIS YEAR'S Scintilla fashion show, the Garden Club Forum's annual fund-raiser, has been set for March 13 in the Stranahan Great Hall, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. The theme is “Free to Be ... Me.”

Tickets are $23, $25, and $35, and include lunch and the show. Proceeds go toward community beautification projects, scholarships for horticultural students, and projects at Toledo Botanical Garden.

Fashions will be from Lady C, Roth Furs, Robert's Menswear, Cinderella's, and Sterling Diamonds.

A judged competition of area garden clubs' floral arrangements starts at 10:30 a.m. Lunch is at noon and the show starts at 1 p.m.

For details, call event chairman Pat Nowak at 419-891-4223.



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