1960s Roberta di Camerino Amber Reptile Cut Velvet Handbag For Sale
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1960s Roberta di Camerino Amber Reptile Cut Velvet Handbag


Roberta di Camerino was the queen of trompe l'oeil, and if you need proof you need not look any further than this gorgeous amber tone velvet reptile handbag! This a - frame top handle purse is swathed in shimmering amber - gold cut velvet reptile fabric featuring a faux flap with the famous Roberta "R". Both sides of the purse feature the same design, although one has the "R" in reverse - a playful indication of which side is the front. The purse also features four gold tone dangling belted "R" charms, two hanging from each side of the purse. The interior of the purse is lined in brown leather and features two pockets. Giuliana Camerino (née Coen) was born to a Jewish family in Venice. In 1943, as World War ii raged on, the Camerinos fled to Switzerland where Giuliana began designing handbags for local leather goods stores. Camerino founded the house “Roberta di Camerino” in 1945. The business was named after the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film “Roberta”; The song “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” was the last tune Camerino listened to before escaping to Switzerland. Roberta di Camerino handbags quickly became known for their innovative use of patterned and colored fabric, two materials that had never been used in handbags. Camerino continued to develop new and interesting designs that would go on to inspire others, including using an “R”-trellis pattern in 1946 that predated Gucci’s iconic “G” pattern handbags and accessories, a the woven leather handbag in 1957 that anticipated the Bottega Veneta woven look, and a hinged handbag that Prada later went on to imitate. Camerino helped develop the post-WW2 venetian economy, employing venetian craftsmen to create many materials, including the brass hardware she used in her striking, cut-velvet bags, and to weave fabric using local antique looms. Camerino branched out into apparel; much of her clothing had distinctive optical illusion tromp l’oeil prints, pleats, buckles, and ruffles. Camerino’s pieces were favored as a status symbol among the jet set crowd as well as celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Farrah Fawcett. Her innovative designs in playful and exciting fabrics earned Camerino several accolades. Camerino won a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1956, acknowledging the widespread influence of her designs on the entire handbag market, her work was also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1980, and as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in 1999.


  • Period
  • Material Notes
    Cut velvetVelvet
  • Condition
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 11 in. x W 9 in.H 27.94 cm x W 22.86 cm
  • Seller Location
    Houston, TX
  • Reference Number
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About the Seller

5 / 5
Gold Seller
1stdibs seller since 2014
Located in Houston, TX
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