Jane Vanroe on collecting vintage powder compacts and compact mirrors. You can find Jane's designs at www.vanroe.com and on Amazon in the EU & USA
One of the big struggles with VanRoe, and vintage in general, is meeting demand when it happens. A press mention can wipe me out for weeks… And I frantically source and restore compacts (imagine me red-knuckled, scrubbing or sewing sifters at twilight at my desk), only for my site to sit quietly… and then another lovely mention and the cycle starts again!
Time invested in PR wasn’t hugely well spent. I just couldn’t fulfil enough orders.
So, out I went to find compacts of the quality of my gorgeous KIGU and Stratton favourites. New powder compacts, but with the look and glamour of vintage. I looked for three months. And realised just how difficult sourcing a new product line is!
Just when I was about to give up, Stratton’s 2010 catalogue came through my door. The company has been quietly existing in Birmingham under the fashionable radar since the good times ended for powder compacts in the 1980s.
From their range, it seems that the company has held on through sales to their original customers. The elegant ladies of a certain age who, at vintage fairs, point out the Strattons they own in my collection… and tell me how they’ve been looking for a replacement for years.
The shock was that in the dense catalogue pages between the tie pins, pens and cufflinks, there were some absolute forgotten treasures. Shots of 60s glamour in gelato colours and neon brights… faux crocodile and lizard… italian leather cases in lipstick red… Chanel-esque quilted chic. I couldn’t wait to order. And yesterday my pick of five arrived.
I’m genuinely, genuinely excited about this. Two of the compacts are stunning. I mean, stupidly stunning. The other three could compete face-to-face with a 1950s crocodile compact and come out with their pride intact. They are beautiful. And I suspect there are more gems in that catalogue… I just have to go to Birmingham to take a better look. Amazing products from a heritage British company, est. 1860. There isn’t more to ask for.
I’ll have the new Stratton powder compacts on VanRoe as soon as I can.