Although they take their inspiration from vintage cavalry bags, saddle bags, and mail pouches, Dooney & Burke handbags live squarely in the 21st century. Founded in 1975 in Norwalk, Connecticut, where Peter Dooney and Frederic Burke’s hobo bags, purses, and clutches are still made today, the company has commissioned celebrities to design its products, such as its 2008 collaboration with movie and TV star Hayden Panettiere, who conceived an Italian calfskin clutch for the company, which was savaged by some critics for its distractingly large 24-karat gold-plated lion's-head closure.

More recently, Dooney & Burke partnered with Disney on a line of resort bags, in tooled leather or limited-edition fabric prints. These Disney Dooneys, as they are sometimes called, feature images of Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, and various Disney theme park “Lands.” But the company’s leather bags remain its calling card, whether it’s an ostrich “Janine” satchel, a crocodile “Susanna,” or a crossbody in suede or patent leather.


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