Roger Van S purse
Did I ever mention I love vintage purses? I’m embarrassed to admit to how many I have stored in my closet! And one of my new favorite vintage purse labels is Roger Van S. Anyone who loves to collect and wear authentic vintage purses needs to know about Roger Van S bags, if you haven’t discovered them already! I truly have no idea how I had never heard of this company before, up until I recently found this chic little black handbag at a flea market. I was attracted to it for it’s beautiful pebble textured soft leather, interesting shape and lovely red lining inside. And it was obvious from the construction that it was a high quality piece.
So once I saw the label inside, I had to find out more about the company behind Roger Van S. I love to find out the history behind a label, which often adds to my appreciation of the piece. And this case is no exception!
Doris Bryn in leggings
Doris Bryn, a model, who appeared in many magazines in the 1940s and 50s, met and married Roger Van Shoyck when they were both attending the University of Cincinatti. While she was still a cover girl she and her husband started an accessory line with the labels Roger Van S. and Mr.R. And, though their products bore her husband’s name, Doris was the actually the chief designer.
The photo above shows two models wearing what we now call “Leggings”. Doris is on right wearing hers beneath a dress. Yes, these were popular even back in 1943! She also appeared in Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan and Look magazine, was a Palmolive Girl and appeared in ads for Camay Soap before she took up her career in accessory design.
Anyway, according to this article from Duke University, which houses a whole collection of historical manuscripts called the “Doris Bryn Papers”, not only did Doris design beautiful, fine quality purses, she also designed, belts, shoes, jewelry and dresses. And originally the business ran as a craft cooperative to employ disabled veterans.
Their cutting edge designs were elegant and sophisticated, selling at Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, B. Altman and other high end department stores. And in 1966 Doris won a design award from the Leather Industries of America.
Roger Van S umbrella purse
Here is a photo of one of their unique handbag designs from 1949
Buyer at Thalheimers’ department store & Roger Van S.
Above two photos are courtesy of Bag Lady Emporium.
After my find, I immediately started looking for more Roger Van S. bags. And I discovered there is a limited selection on line. Here are a few that have caught my eye. Click on images to take you to product page.
Black Roger Van S handbag with brass filigree trim
Available on Poshmark for &74.00
The ones below are all on Etsy.
Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse
For the jetsetter! Vintage Roger Van S wicker purse with leather patches embossed with famous travel destinations! $40.00
Roger Van S envelope clutch
60s Roger Van S. tapestry envelope clutch. $48.00
Roger Van S black leather belt
I even found this black leather Roger Van S. belt with fabulously unique buckle! Only $39.99
Do you own any Roger Van S. bags or other accessories? If not, be sure make a note to keep an eye out for this lesser known label when out shopping antique malls, flea markets, etc. The quality is definitely superior to new handbags in the same price range.
Have a glamorous day!