DESIGNER BRAND: Lucille de Paris, USA (interior stamp)
TYPE: Frame satchel with a top handle and a front pocket (original authenticity card is included)
SKIN: Ostrich (valuable full quill skins)
METAL: Brushed and polished gold tone clasp and handle d-rings
INTERIOR: White leather (a wallet pocket with a kiss-clasp in gold tone metal, a folding slip pocket, a zippered pocket with a small slip pocket)
CONDITION: Vintage near mint, intact, with very minor signs of gentle use natural for light tanned skin. Fairly rare for a white skin vintage purse. Secure clasp, undamaged handle, clean interior.
STYLIST'S TIP: Pair this exquisite swan-white piece with patterns or solids to contrast, or accentuate -- for casual or special events.
HISTORY: Highly recognizable among collectors of period fashion and savvy fashionistas are the high-end skin bags by incomparable Lucille de Paris. For almost three decades, from the 1940s until the late 1960s, they were manufactured in the U.S. by the New York company, Lucille Bags, Inc., located at 30 East 33rd . The brand was initially established as a maker of beaded bags in France in the 1930s by Mr. Charles Hahn and his wife, Lucille A. Hahn, who moved to New York in the mid 1940s. During the 1950s, under the leadership of Charles Hahn, Lucille de Paris successfully produced and distributed exquisite handbags through upscale boutiques across the country. Simple yet sophisticated lines; quality skins; top workmanship; marvelous accents and a wide array of lush, custom colors were the features highly desired by their customers. In the late 1950s, the sons of Charles Hahn -- Peter and Claude -- inherited the company, and Peter Hahn became its president. In 1956, the company joined the National Authority for the Ladies' Handbag Industry. Their luxurious purses were sold in upscale department stores (Saks Fifth Avenue, Crouch & Fitzgerald, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, etc.). Besides in-stock semi-annual collections, some were custom-made for important customers, including celebrities, dignitaries and royalty. In 1969, the ban on alligator skins had been announced in the U.S. As a result, Lucille Bags, Inc. auctioned their state-of- the-art equipment and shut down their production lines. Sadly, that was the time when most American producers of alligator handbags had to halt their operations, once and for all. Today, the Lucille de Paris brand is remembered as truly an American brand -- one of the biggest names in the international fashion arena that dared to compete with the best European design houses. (Copyright 1999-2012 Victoria Stowe. All rights reserved.)
BOOK: Read about collectible vintage crocodile handbags by Lucille de Paris in our fashion encyclopedia "Exotic Skin Handbags: Alligator & Crocodile" by Victoria Stowe on pp. 128-139. You're welcome to purchase an autographed copy of the book from our Malleries boutique.