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The art and science of Bagology

Indulge in some fashion, history and elegance during this first-of-its-kind event

June 6, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Set up as a way to both get to know a little bit about your own style while taking a brief trip through the evolution of handbags, Fort Myers Beach's own playwright, director, producer and fashion enthusiast Laurie Nienhaus is excited to host her very first Bagology event, taking place Saturday, June 9, at 1 p.m. within Shoals Restaurant of the Sandy Butler, 17650 San Carlos Blvd.

Laurie, a true expert in fashion of all eras, is eager to host her first-ever event on the history of handbags.

"Bagology is my newest program. Most of my programs are tea- and/or history-related. This program is a little different in that there is a story-telling aspect to the first part of it," she said. "I also have some prizes something I usually don't do. After talking about how the contents of our handbags have changed over the decades, I'll ask a short series of questions such as, 'Who can pull more than three lipsticks from their handbag?'"

Article Photos

Fort Myers Beach’s own playwright, director, producer and fashion enthusiast Laurie Nienhaus will take you on a trip through time during Bagology, June 9, at 1 p.m., in Shoals, at the Sandy Butler. Photo courtesy LAURIE NIENHAUS.

For those of your not sure what "Bagology" means, it is the science of determining what your handbag says about you, and how they have changed over the years ?both style-wise and what's carried inside of them.

"This is all in the name of fun. For instance, women carrying a knock-off designer bag appreciates our global economy, as well as the limitations of their checkbooks. They're style queens with a scavenger gene and they're often the life of the party," Laurie explained. "Then we have women fond of bags possessing an almost bewildering array of studs, buckles and oversized zippers. These women tend to need more chiropractic care than the rest of us as they age, but through their 20s, 30s and 40s, they're the epitome of wild child and bad girl. Angering these women is generally a bad idea. They can sling those bags with unexpected gusto and take you down in a heartbeat leaving you bruised, battered and possibly even slightly bloodied."

During this very entertaining event, Laurie will have 14 individual types of handbag styles on display, most of which will have more than one example.

"I'm quite excited about the display," Laurie said. "Some of the more unusual examples are a caiman bag (with the head, feet and tail. Until we did the research, we thought it was true alligator), two Enid Collins bags from the 1960s, three lucite bags from the 1950s, a candy wrapper bag (a style believed to originate as an example of Mexican prison art), several mesh bags from the 1920s, three Corde bags form the 1940s, a pillow purse and a Minaudiere (a small decorative case for carrying small articles or cosmetics)."

Also during the event, Laurie's good friend Babs Synderman of Babs Beads, both a jewelry and textile artist, will have some of her stunningly and unusually hand-painted, hand-crafted handbags with bone handles on display. They are each one-of-a-kind masterpieces, and perhaps to the right person in attendance that day, they may become their most recent purchase.

All Bagology guests are encouraged to bring their favorite handbag to the event. Along with a fabulous trip through the evolution of purses, Laurie will offer fine selections of tea and complementing sweets to go along with the seminar.

"It's always the history of anything that reels me in. I love vintage fashion, and for all talks, I dress in either vintage style or something vintage-inspired. Accessories are a huge part of the fashion from any era," Laurie said. "I love the Victorian era, especially the 1880s, and I am crazy about the 1920s. Since my play, Tea-A-Ria, 1940s fashions have also caught my attention."

The cost to attend is $25, and Laurie said $2 of each ticket will be donated to a local beach non-profit group. The cost includes the full event, along with complementary tea and hors d'oeuvres.

"Apparently, I'm the only one in our part of the world who thought of such a thing, Bagology. I don't believe the Sackrider Virtual Museum of Handbags or even the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam have taken quite this approach," Laurie said. "I'm so eager to hold the event and share my passion for fine fashion in handbags."

For further information on Laurie Nienhaus or her upcoming course, Bagology, feel free to visit, find her on Facebook, email or call 463-1079.



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