History of Dooney & Bourke Handbags

Although a young starlet, Emma Roberts has a D&B handbag named after her.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

They are fabulous, cute and fun. Dooney & Bourke handbags may be a part of today's culture, but they haven't been around for very long. The 41-year-old company didn't start off making their high-quality bags, but ever since the launch of their first bag, the company has continued to grow.

Dooney & Bourke's Birth

The handbag company was started in 1975. Two men named Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke launched the company in South Norwalk, Connecticut. The company started with two introductory products. One was a surcingle belt which came in unusual, vibrant colors and stripes and the second product was its classic suspenders.

Dooney & Bourke Handbags

Six years after the company launched, the duo introduced a new accessory to their collection. The Dooney & Bourke Tack Case and the Dooney & Bourke Equestrian Bag were the first handbags released under the Dooney & Bourke name. A couple of years later, the company grew even more, releasing the infamous All-Leather-Weather -- or ALW -- Bag. This was the first bag with the iconic Dooney & Bourke duck logo on it.

The Logo

The unmistakable duck logo on Dooney & Bourke bags has a story of its own. When the ALW bag was created, it did exactly as its name suggests. The ALW collection was made of 100 percent waterproof cowhide. The water sheds right off the bags, just like it does off a duck's back. The company's catalog says that part of the process in making the cowhide 100 percent waterproof is shrinking the leather so that the pores are sealed.

Gaining Fame

Dooney & Bourke went on to gain even more popularity when the company began attaching celebrity names to its bags. In 2006, the company named the Emma bag after young Hollywood actress Emma Roberts. Hayden Panettiere designed her own bags for the line with Peter Dooney: the Hayden bag and the Chiara patent leather bag. Other celebrities endorsing the handbags include Lindsay Lohan and "Gossip Girl" actress Michelle Trachtenberg.

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