To say that the Tom Kalin film Savage Grace (based on the book by Natalie Robbins and Steven M.L. Aronson) is harrowing would be an understatement.  Not exactly sure what compelled me to see a film about mother-son incest and timeless decadence last night but the one good thing that came out of this film about the true story of Barbara Daly Baekeland and her social climbing ways is that I got into a bit of a Bakelite searching frenzy.  This material created by Leo Baekeland made his family rich but this fortune ultimately ruined the third generation Baekelands (Barbara was the wife of Brooks Baekeland, grandson of Leo…).  I think I’ll ignore the incest, murder, depression, adultery and suicide and concentrate on the shiny plastic accessories unearthed on eBay and Etsy


Still, Savage Grace is a superb film even if it does at times make you feel so uneasy you need to look away.  Everything is visually lush and it goes without saying that there’s some fine clothes in it too, though probably more interesting from a menswear perspective…

Comments (21)

  1. WendyB says:

    I read the book and was amazed that anyone could make such a scandalous topic so boring. I was most amused by the son’s letters from prison to friends. He was overly normal like, “Hope you’re doing well! I’m fine, thanks!”

  2. Drusilla says:

    It does sound a bit..uncomfortable to watch, to put it mildly.

  3. selina says:

    i missed out on the best ebay bakelite anchor necklace one, oh the pain. i love julianne more but can’t think of someone who would see this film with me!

  4. lady coveted says:

    oh wow, what a crazy story… julianne moore must have been amazing though.
    that said, bakelite is amazing. i had a few bakelite purses, but since i only used them to conceal random usb, digicam cables and batteries i sold them. i wonder why they don’t make bakelite anymore?

  5. elnotable says:

    Haven’t seen the film but I find Bakelite great fun… Anyway, I like your blog a lot.
    This is mine,
    though it is written in spanish….(I live in Madrid and am too lazy to translate everything.. hahah) bye!!!!!!

  6. floraposte says:

    Great accessories. Really curious about that film Julianne Moore is always in such interesting stuff

  7. Giselle says:

    hmm…that movie looks kinda hot (yes, I’m pervy) but really, I love that watch 😛

  8. enc says:

    Yes, let’s just ignore all that tawdriness and enjoy the beauty of these pieces.

  9. sounds like a mad film but i really like the rings and bags!

  10. Meg says:

    ah I’m dying to see that film! Can’t wait! Great post though. Like all the above posters I also love bakelite. Such a great material.

  11. Sandra says:

    Oh good. I’m glad someone went to go and see it because I was honestly afraid. Incestuous stories kind of gross me out.
    Beautiful collection of bakelite pics Susie! I’ve collected Bakelite for many years now but I have yet to find a watch. Nice find!
    @Jennine, I believe Bakelite isn’t produced anymore because of two reasons:
    1. it contains formaldehyde . if you rub a piece of bakelite, it will smell like formaldehyde
    2. at the end of the war, new plastics were invented-lucite, acrylic, etc. so Bakelite became obsolete.

  12. pretty face says:

    Is its run finishing or starting? I had a look on londonnet and it’s only showing in one cinema this week.

  13. Beautiful accessories. Don’t know if I wanna see the film though.

  14. Now I’m curious about the family history! I love bakelite pieces.

  15. winnie says:

    Oh I love that chunky yellow watch.

  16. Tara Aveilhe says:

    Just wanted to say I love your blog — I discovered it a few months ago and now I can’t go a day without reading you! The Bakelite post struck a cord with me because there is an amazing vintage shop here in Tulsa, Oklahoma (there are a few actually; SSHHHHH, don’t tell anyone or they will all come and get the good stuff!)that specializes in Bakelite. The owner has been collecting it for years and she just keeps it all stashed in a big, dusty glass case. I have bought a few pieces (a stunning necklace in particular and some big yellow Bakelite hoop earrings). The pieces are so original and the colors are rich and yummy. Great stuff.

  17. a dreamer says:

    oh my gosh, i was just learning about bakelite in science class. bahahah

  18. solfilm says:

    This was actually a good read, thanks for writing it. 🙂

  19. Nat Turner says:

    Incredibly captivating story. Proves money isnt everything!

  20. Alicia Bellami says:

    I watched the movie myself, found it to be pretty interesting, and a little twisted.I bought the yellow watch that is posted a few years ago on Ebay. It’s in great running condition up till now.

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