Today we are delighted to offer for sale a rare and stunning vintage 1950’s Roberta di Camerino Bagonghi handbag!
The iconic fashion house of Roberta di Camerino was founded in 1945 when Giuliana Camerino, along with her husband, returned to Italy after the World War II ended. It was named after the film Roberta, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The song “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” from the film was the last song that Giulliana Camerino danced to before fleeing for Switzerland, and so she took the professional name Roberta as a memory of earlier, happy times.
Roberta di Camerino’s handbags were renowned for their innovativeness. They used richly patterned and coloured fabrics that had formerly been only used for clothing. In 1946, she made a bag patterned with a trellis of R’s, foreshadowing Gucci’s G’s; in 1957 she made woven leather bags before Bottega Veneta did, and in 1964, she made a handbag with an articulated frame that was later reproduced by Prada. Her designs were widely copied. Although this upset her, Coco Chanel reassured her, telling her not to cry about being copied, but to ‘cry the day they don’t copy you’.
The iconic Bagonghi bag was created in 1949. Its the form, function and elegance have not lost its touch over the years. The handbag is made in a special type of velvet with a unique sheen and feel. The velvet is so rare that the looms only manufacture about 30 feet of it per month. In 1959, Grace Kelly, while visiting Rome, wore the iconic Bagonghi bag, also known as the “princess bag”, for the first time. It was the first velvet fabric bag, with precious design metal elements created by the finest Venetian craftsmen, expert builders of gondolas. The bag has become a timeless and precious piece that has always been a fashion symbol for women of the high society and taste, just like Princess Grace of Monaco.
This authentic and original Bagonghi bag is beautifully crafted and detailed. It features a structured black-leather covered frame with silver-plated hardware. The piece is covered in the rare red/black/red color scheme which is seldom seen. The bag features the classic and rich Camerino velvets, interspersed with black leather bands. The central black velvet panel is embossed with the iconic Meridiana design. The black leather interior is roomy and features one open pocket and one zippered pocket. The piece is marked inside “Made in Italy by Roberta di Camerino”.
The bag presents beautifully and is in very good, lightly used and clean, vintage condition. It appears to only have been used a handful of times. There is minor wear to corners, minor tarnish/patina to hardware, and light scattered scuffing of the leather inside the bag below the lock.
Dimensions: 10-1/4″ in length, 4-3/4″ in depth, 9-3/4″ in height/with handle, 6″ in height/body