Martin Van Schaak
NYC, USA, active '40s-'80s
An American designer of French-Dutch origin who started his fashion career in the mid-'40s when he sold his first purse to the wife of the Dutch ambassador. In 2001, he celebrated his eightieth birthday. The most elusive master whose customers, such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Marlene Dietrich and others represented the crème de la crème of New York, Los Angeles, Texas and Washington society.
Specialty: one-of-a-kind satchels and clutches custom-made from leathers, skins and textiles. Martin Van Schaak creations were never available in stores, and could be ordered only in person, with waiting lists.
Signature features: unique, gold-plated, enamel and rhinestone jewelry ornaments. Best, mint examples are regarded as rare collectibles.
Mark: Martin Van Schaak New York.
Illustration: Martin Van Schaak crocodile handbag ad, Harper's Bazaar 1956.
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Source: © 2010 Victoria Stowe "Exotic Skin Handbags: Alligator & Crocodile." All rights reserved.