I was first introduced to Whiting & Davis during Paris Fashion week two years ago. It’s not like I hadn’t seen these blingy meshed handbags before, in fact I had owned a gold high street version a few years back when they along with anything metallic became a huge runway trend. Little did I know that this mesh bag dates back to 1876 and is the oldest handbag company in America. Whiting & Davis was the very first company to create these uniquely crafted handbags using brass metal. It was Charles Whiting who took the ancient art of chain mail, think knights in armour, and created an exquisite fabric that became a three-inch square purse with a delicate twist closure in 1892. Whiting partnered with Edward Davis and so the house of Whiting & Davis was born. A few years later the laborious process of weaving the links and rings by hand became mechanized allowing the business to grow rapidly and it became the powerhouse for mesh fashion and jewelry. The duo continued to create luxury pieces that appealed to Hollywood starlets as well as the woman on the street. In 1922, silent film actress Catherine Calvert was quoted in a Whiting & Davis advert confessing, “I adore mesh bags… Even were they not the accepted thing among modish women, I confess to the fear that I would possess one simply to revel secretly in the fascination of its gleaming silken-textured mesh.”
Advertising campaigns since the early 1900’s
Since the early years of the 20 century these creations have been worn by the likes of Elsa Schiaparelli (who also designed for the company), Nicole Kidman on the red carpet at the 1997 Academy awards, Eva Longoria at the 2006 Cannes film festival and Lady Gaga (out and about in one of her extraordinary creations). Michael Jackson wore his infamous red leather jacket inlaid with Whiting & Davis ring mesh in the shoulders in his 1983 music video “Beat It”, and in the same year Christy Brinkley was on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in a gold Whiting & Davis metal mesh dress. The new S/S 2015 collection of handbags is gorgeous and blingy, retaining it’s 137 year history of producing luxurious and high-quality coveted fashion objects. I especially like the Palms pouch clutch, the brass metal mesh is silk-screened with tropical palm trees – perfect for a beach getaway!
Celebs who love Whiting & Davis
Shop the S/S 2015 collection (Images courtesy of Whiting & Davis)