As I’m about to leave for a week in Venice, I started thinking about a more graceful age of travel in which a lady gallivanted accompanied by a steamer trunk, a lovely travelling wardrobe box that held all of one’s treasures. Today’s suitcase can’t hold a candle to a gorgeous Saratoga Trunk – the name of an early Ingrid Bergman film, based on a typically histrionic novel by Edna Ferber – but also a travel case named for the famous Saratoga Springs resort. And not to be confused with the Jenny Lind, a nineteenth-century stagecoach trunk, named for the famous songbird.
Ah for a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk with glossy brass finishings. But what I really covet is the authentic wardrobe steamer trunk, the stand-up kind in which one hangs one’s gowns, with drawers for feathered headdresses and endless ropes of pearls, the kind of thing that Ginger Rogers always seemed to have on hand for a slow, glamorous ocean passage. The kind of thing Bette Davis had with her in Now Voyager –