Like Ava, above, there's something in classic film noir that grips and won't let go . . . the rainslicked nights, the melancholy of the hero, the dead-souled beauty of the woman that destroys him . . . all wrapped in looming black curves that were a nightmarish exaggeration of the Deco sensibility.
That design ethos crept into the late-40s daylight as well, with Buick's Roadmaster automobile, the furniture designs of mid-century modern architects like Henry Glass . . .
and, now getting to the point of this post, handbags.
The beauty above, made by the dubiously-named François of California, captures all the nasty dark volupté of the time, right on down to the pink vinyl interior. François bags are marked by this overblown sculptural quality. Notwithstanding the calibre of design, examples can be found at very reasonable prices online and in vintage shops. This particular example is from Vintage à la Mode in San Francisco.
If you're into channeling your inner Noir heroine, a bag like this would be a reasonably safe way to go.
(photo top from The Killers, 1946, review on electricsheepmagazine.co.uk; Henry P. Glass chair design from the ArchiTech Gallery's show Future Perfect: Mid-Century Modern Design Drawings, 1947 Buick Roadmaster from www.supercars.net, many thanks)