A University trained mother of 2 business woman, decorated by her country and controlling 90% of an industry single handed? In 1935, Ida Jolles had organized a cottage industry in Austria, utilizing the skills of 20,000 weavers and hand workers. (July 1935 Luggage & Leather Goods, page 55)
Mme. Jolles Decorated by Austria For Services to Petit Point Industry
Vienna, famous throughout the world for its gaiety, music, love and art, is little known for its great industries. We might say—its one great industry— petit point, which, while still remaining one of the fine arts, is one of the few to become industrialized. In this machine age, it is difficult to realize an industry which must be carried on by hand. It may also be difficult—for men, at least—to understand how ninety per cent of this industry is controlled by one woman, Mme. Ida Jolles; young, attractive, university trained, excelling in music and languages, the mother of two girls of high school age and just recently decorated by her country with the Cross of Honor for distinguished services. For, Mme. Jolles daily employs over 20,000 people.
From Art to Industry
Petit point is really a very young industry. In the 15th and 16th centuries only ladies of royal or titled households knew how to make it—following the de¬signs made for them by such great artists as Raphael and Rubens, and until this recent boom, it had remained a cozy drawing room art. Even now, Mme. Jolles' weavers, mostly women, work entirely at home—and when one realizes that there are 6400 stitches to a square inch of this work, it is easy to understand why but three hours are the limit of a day's work.
A splendid example of this work is one of the outstanding bags I've ever handled.
A00534: An unbelievable Jolles Original Petite Point and suede handbag. Marked “Made in Austria.” The subtle coloration and detail of the flowers, front and back, are reminiscent of antique European Tapestries. The soft dried Apricot suede is backed in cotton duck to form the handle. The solid and substantial metal frame features sculptural handle attachment hardware. The gold satin more’ interior is pristine and has two open pockets. Includes double sided mirror in its own tan leather case. It’s a real work of art! Very slight wear to underside of the handle, but it’s exquisite! Measures 11 ½ x 2 x 8 ½” with a 14” handle. SOLD for $155 in 2001
Handbag News in the April 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 56
All Purpose Novelty at Jolles
"From the clever hands of Madam Jolles comes a new all purpose knitting and handbag. A ruler front and back forms the frame. This is laced with contrasting color to a large deep bag of colored cotton hopsacking. The long handle may be worn over the shoulder or knotted and carried as a top handle style. This item is being sold for both handbag and novelty departments and retails for $1.95."
Wartime materials shortages forced dramatic design changes. 1942PlasticPreferred
A00591: Jolles Wartime production plastic clutch bag in stripes of red, white, black and green. Limited materials for luxury goods, restricted by the WWII War Department, resulted in this unique bag, made of half round tubes attached to black canvas. The fabric label affixed to the single open pocket reads “Plastic-rol Reg. U.S. Off Jolles Corp." A unique bit of handbags history! Measures 11 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 7 inches.
Valued at $65 and available at The Bag Lady Emporium
Bags for Spring 1956 were presented on January 3, 1956 by agreement as a member of the National Authority for the Ladies Handbag Industry. 1956NationalAuthorityMembers
With Holiday 1956 sales in view, special attention was directed to unique evening, trendy and novelty styles on pages 16-17 of "Handbags & Accessories" August 1956.
Show the unusual in special occasion bags
"FABRICS are background for group of large bags that tell a story. "Greed," left, is a felt lined tote. Gold coins, tapestry embroidery, and gems dress clutch. Jolles, 33 E. 33rd St."