Photos By Gail
In mid-century America, molded Box Handbags like this one (circa 1955) were fabricated by the New York City accessory firm Wilardy aka Wilardy Originals, which embraced the increasingly experimental postwar design trend towards ‘scientific’ materials such as Lucite.
Wilardy Originals began in 1946 as Handbag Specialties, a collaboration between father and son team, Charles William Hardy and William Hammond Hardy. The original offices and factory were in New York, and moved to Union City, New Jersey in 1953. Charles, who was called Bill, was a wizard with mathematics and a serious business man. William, known as Will, was the artist, designer, a great motivator and a man who possessed unusual social grace. Will Hardy took over the business in the 1960s, and continued designing and manufacturing into the early 1980s.
In addition to lucite handbags, Will designed lighting fixtures for Dinico, lucite bathroom fixtures, elegant containers for Atlantic Can, a chest of drawers for Jacqueline Kennedy, chandeliers for the White House, jewelry, tableware for the Grainware Company, and even clothing. He passed away on May 24th, 2018. Find out more about Wilardy Originals at This Link!
Photographed in the Museum of the City of New York in Manhattan.