‘Oh no, not more suitcases…?’ complains my husband, as I return triumphant from Ardingly antiques fair, proudly lugging my most recent luggage purchases into the house. ‘You’re a nut case. We’ve already got a whole stack of them.’
He’s right, of course. I am. We have. But until I reach the ceiling of the bedroom alcove, I’m determined to keep adding to my collection. One contains a 1950s picnic set (rarely – alright, never really, used) and the rest are filled with spare bed linen, winter clothes and ‘general clutter’. ‘They’re so useful,’ I explain, ‘…handy all over the house; Three stacked together creates a chic bedside table while a larger trunk is the perfect ‘vintage’ TV stand or coffee table.’ He rolls his eyes.
Certain suitcases are more tempting than others. Firstly, I’m a sucker for a case with a faded luggage label – particularly if the destination has some personal significance. I seek out ones with ‘LONDON’ tags – reminiscent of an era when travel was an altogether more romantic and rarer affair.
Secondly, if a vintage suitcase has a pretty silk lining, I’m helpless to resist. One of my favourites has dainty internal pockets, delicately embroidered with the words: ‘Lingerie’, ‘Stockings’, ‘Handkerchiefs’ and ‘Gloves’. I can only dream of being that organised (or owning handkerchiefs, for that matter), but I often use this case for weekends away, just for the glamour.
Lastly, if a vintage suitcase has a beautiful brand logo – such as a vintage Antler stag sticker, for example – I’m smitten. Throw in a couple of tiny keys on old string for the locks, some leather buckle-up straps and embossed initials on the side, and I’m sold.
Chestnut brown, khaki green, cream and navy blue – they look so beautiful all together. ‘Who needs an alcove anyway?’ I shout, as I add another to the precarious pile. Case closed.