basket girl

It's official: I am basket girl. Around the time that I posted about baskets for the first time, I absently mentioned them to my parents. They have a little apartment in a villa in the south of Portugal, where Jane Birkin's basket was made. I didn't ask them to look for one, because I knew that Alice was sending me one. Yesterday I went to pick them up from the airport after their latest trip, and I burst out laughing: my dad was coming out of the arrivals gate with this in his hand.

Now I have two baskets!

It made me sad to hear the story of this one, considering I am so obsessed with these regional baskets right now. They found it at a kiosk in the airport that sold local crafts, and the seller had two. He said they were the last two he would get because no one wants them anymore, and no one is interested in learning how to make them. Of course, these were meant to be used for practical purposes and not quite made to be used as a purse -- but that's how I will use it. You press down on the handle to loosen the lid, which swings away. It cost 25€, about 1000 times less than the Hermès Birkin.

These images of Jane are so wonderful. It appears that she lost her basket's lid at some point (she still had it at when this picture was taken). It's amazing that she just didn't care what anyone thought about her using an octopus basket as a purse through the streets or Paris or Cannes. I know that I have written quite a bit about baskets and about Jane's approach to life and to fashion, but it inspires me like nothing else and I hope it inspires you, too.


April: Oh, I love lemon flavours! Thank you!

wallflower: Yes, it is!

Elena: Yeah, the Raspberry Tart sweater is amazing, although it's not very visible here. Ooh the dress and apron sound amazing!

erica-knits: Ooh lucky you! I did that with some of my Cabbage Patch dolls. Always a bad idea!

Aprile: I found the source of the tights online and they're only $5, ha! They're from The Sock Man in NY. Oh, I loved Rainbow Brite. I did have a Rainbow Brite doll, and I loved her. Her little space-suit romper!

alyson.: I know, so fun! Lemon Chiffon is actually a super beautiful lace dress. I wish I could see more of it.

tara-lynn: Oh, no! So heartbreaking! It's amazing that you had so much stuff! I have been trying all day to recall that particular smell but I can't do it. I have to get my hands on a little figurine!

Melissa: You should! I've seen people walking cats on leashes before. It's fun!

stitchface: Ha! It must be so toxic, no? I love it.

Siubhan: Oh, I just love Lula. I've been collecting it since issue 5. It's my absolute favourite magazine. Me and some of my friends have mentioned before how we're always afraid to start reading it, because we're... saving it, or something! Silly.

SwanDiamondRose: Apparently there was a doll called Cafe Ole! Also Butter Cookie! These dolls are making me hungry. I do talk about the past a lot too, mostly because I'm perpetually in awe of the fact that we grew up without the internet, and now it's this totally normal thing. It still freaks me out!


  1. your parents sound so sweet!
    and god, jane birkin is so beautiful

  2. now if only we could see what it was she carried in her basket purse!

    i left a comment on your post about oreo and your basket but it was eaten up! I basically said that I can't believe you got her into that thing and I laughed so hard and showed James.... and that you always look so adorable, Anabela!

  3. That's crazy, adorable, and unique.

  4. How sweet of your parents. If you import these I will totally buy them:) I absolutely love that you use a basket for a purse and I think I will start copying you if it's OK!

  5. what are your thoughts on the new Gainsbourg/birkin film coming out soon?

  6. Lucky you! I'm on a waiting list for them at Kiosk.

  7. Anonymous9.4.10

    i've never thought of a basket as a fashion piece, but i like it!

    xo Alison

  8. How sweet of your parents! That's too bad no one is buying them anymore though. Maybe you'll spark a new beginning for them! I know I am considering one now...

  9. anabela and her baskets, it could be a cute little story book :)

  10. Aw, lucky you! It must have been such a sight watching your dad carried that around his arms when you came to pick them up.

    These are quite some fashion statements as what i can see. :)

  11. Oh my gosh I love your baskets! And those pictures of Jane...wow, so glamourous and elegant- what an inspiration. I love how you are using a basket as a purse- it is so unique. Next time I am in Toronto I will have to keep my eye out for a girl carrying a basket!

  12. that story is quite true... and it's happening with more crafts than just the basket weaving here in Portugal. The worst part is that nobody is actually making records of how things were done, so they're bound to be really lost in time.

    When I was little I had a small purse made of wicker, in the shape of a rectangle. I kept my "rebuçados da régua", a typical candy from Douro in there. It was my treasure and my first handbag!

    The thing I love most about wicker is that it can be weaved in virtually any shape, and it's natural and so tough.
    I've had some crazy ideas, but never got around to have them actually made. :D

  13. what a wonderful post and the bittersweet anecdote behind the basket your parents got you is such an important issue that we as crafters, consumers of fashion and lovers of beautiful things need to be more aware of...

    i love that you found for us the history of the original 'birkin bag'! she is such a gorgeous, gracious woman who has outlasted so many other celebs over the decades.

  14. I have been enjoying your posts about baskets. I have a nice big one for the farmers market, but you have me craving a smaller one that i can use as a purse

  15. oh! that´s a sad story, i hate when that happens! and that photos of Jane are so wonderful, and actually i´m looking for one too!
    I specially adore this: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=43108686

    bunny baskets! :)

  16. somehow i find it great that you have 2 baskets!

  17. What a lovely post and a lovely touching story about your bag. I love Jane Birkin. She is cool effortless, a natural. I love Serge Gainsbourgh. He likes to stir things up. His song Mambo miam miam is really funny.

  18. That first image is just awesome - like they're looking for easter eggs in the streets of Paris :)

  19. I'm loving your basket posts! So much that I did one of my own and linked to yours http://mintjewels.blogspot.com/2010/04/basket-for-your-bike.html

  20. thank you for giving me permission to use a wicker basket without making me feel like my mum in the early 90s.

  21. Utter perfection.

  22. Lovely, lovely post. I live in New York City and I need a basket just like the one your father brought you/just like the one Jane Birkin carried. Do you by any chance know a place in NYC that sells them? I need one by this Tuesday (I am going insane!).

  23. HI Anabela~ I really enjoyed this post~Baskets used as purses have been around for hundreds of years, ( I have a special interest in the antique ones and just finished a 3 part little article on them on my blog) but you are SO very right, for realizing the fact that artisan crafts are quickly becomming extinct~ I hope more will be documented somehow~ video would be perfect! This is the case with the era of basket purses I collect and study~ made for such a short time, by a handful of weavers, and once they were gone, so were those type baskets.
    kindest, rachael