Victoria Stowe is a fashion historian, collector and leading expert in the history of American legacy brands that specialized in luxury skin handbags. She devoted over a decade to researching their 100-year history and assembling the finest collection of historically important examples.
The uniqueness of her archival collection lies in the fact that most of the featured American designer brands are no longer in operation, and no other known research of their production has been conducted in the U.S. so far.
The only comprehensive collection of premier American mid-century brands in the world, it is based on numerous and thoroughly researched industry archives of the pre-Internet era that create a solid foundation for her illustrated fashion encyclopedia, “Exotic Skin Handbags: Alligator and Crocodile,” published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. in 2010.
A rare study and an important collector's guide to the luxuries market, it has instantly become a useful reference for designers, industry, fashion students, and smart-dressing shoppers worldwide.
To satisfy their discriminating taste, Victoria has been offering unique and timeless vintage finds in her exclusive online boutique since 1999. During that time, she has purchased, appraised and sold about six thousand handbags including rare collectibles and well-priced, elegant vintage in excellent condition for everyday use.
Our vast customer base consists of thousands of buyers from different walks of life, including prominent designers, such as Judith Leiber, Richard Lambertson (Tiffany & Co.), Brett Heyman (Edie Parker), Joan Hornig, Helen Roberts Payne (Ralph Lauren), Elizabeth Bugdaycay (Rebecca Taylor), Cynthia Rose, Carol Tambor, as well as entertainment, art and fashion professionals, such as Tiffany Dubin (Sotheby's), Nanci Ryder, Marylin Kirschner (Harper's Bazaar), Matt Rubinger (Portero, Heritage Auctions, Christie's), and many others.
Our Fashion Encyclopedia
"Exotic Skin Handbags: Alligator and Crocodile" is an illustrated, comprehensive fashion encyclopedia and a collector's guide that discusses the history of luxury skin handbags - the ultimate fashion status symbols to wear and collect. Showcased is the important archival collection of fabulous, high-end handbags primarily created by the top mid-century American designer brands that are sadly no longer in operation.
The tome is meticulously researched with archived issues of the leading fashion periodicals, including Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as the largest U.S. merchandise catalogs, such as Sears and Montgomery Wards; and lavishly illustrated by period advertisements and original photography by the author.
"Exotic Skin Handbags: Alligator and Crocodile. Ultimate Status Symbols to Collect and Wear " is available worldwide online, including the Amazon.com website, as well as in bookstores and libraries.
I fell in love with vintage exotics by accident, after literally stumbling across a gorgeous Lucille de Paris alligator purse at the Pike Place Antiques store in downtown Seattle...
I'm delighted that you stopped by and hope you'll enjoy visiting our virtual museum, reading the book, viewing the illustrations, and shopping for a piece of history to wear that you can find in our new online boutique, InStyle Classics. Stay tuned!