HISTORY OF VINTAGE HANDBAG 1970S: The American Equestrian Influence

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1970S: The American Equestrian Influence


Peter Doney and Frederic Bourke started their eponymous accessories company in 1975 in south Norwalk, Connecticut.  The brand also has its roots in rural pursuits, in this case, horse riding.


Two products were instrumental in the company’s initial success; a surcingle belt in vibrant colors and stripes, and a pair of classic braces, or suspenders as they are known in America.


  In 1981 the company launched the Tack Case and the Equestrian bag, both made from bridle leather.  These were retailed from Nordstrom’s Brooks Brothers and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as from the company’s store in their home town.


The first handbag to feature the company’s duck logo and the signature russet leather trim was the All-Weather Leather.


 It was manufactured in waterproof cowhide-shedding water like “rain off a duck’s back; the distinctive feature and unique selling point of the bag being the process by which the leather is shrunk to seal the pores of the skin, a technique that still remains secret today.  The company catalogue explains:


The Essence of the all-Weather Leather: the secret lies in the tannin oils and laid out to dry. 


As the leather shrinks, its pores tighten ad close-this creates a natural barrier to moisture and gives All-Weather Leather its distinctive pebble-grain texture.  The result is leather that’s soft and supple to the touch, yet virtually impervious to the elements.


There’s no need to pamper it with wax or silicones.  A simple solution of bar soap and water is sufficient to remove most dirt and water-soluble stains.



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