Train cases are, for me, little portable parcels of glamor. And, though I rarely get to take a train, carrying a train case seems to imply adventure. That's just me: I like to imagine, as often as possible, that I'm on the set of period film. Like travel isn't just homogenized rest stops, chain hotels and all-inclusive packages. Instead, it's the dream, the world in between worlds where nothing weighs heavy and everything is possible. I'd like to say travel is the time when we're free of all of life's baggage, except that it's actually the occasion when we're dealing with literal baggage.
A train case is travel-lite. Not that the women who carried them, historically, would have traveled lightly. They would have had stacks of luggage. Sets of suitcases, perhaps a garment bag, definitely a hat box. But the train case, small and tidy, hard-shelled and impervious with its snap-latch, holds the necessities.
Collage from Polymorphic Studio
And even though train cases are a thing of the past, I love finding them. They're on ebay — nice ones with port of call stamps — and they're in antique stores, over-priced and polished up. But I like discovering them, abandoned and sort of sad, in the corners of thrift ships. Usually they're a little scratched up and have been used to store crafting materials or as sewing kits. (Check for pins stick into the satin lining.) Give them a second life as makeup kits, carry-ons or (if you're a very light packer) day bags.
Upcycled train case found on ebay.
Lily Gatins, Palais de Chaillot - Paris
9 months ago