Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fortunate Finds: Mod 60s Wallet by Don Loper of California

Thank goodness that this week has been a computer virus-free week because now I can show you this little find:

I haven't been out thrifting or to an estate sale in a while because I've been so good about de-stashing.  But occasionally I can't help myself.  Recently I stumbled over this very mod style, pristine and unused  wallet that I just could not leave behind even though I technically don't need it. 

The wallet is of leather, in an unusual red and bone color combination, with cream taffeta lining and separate compartments for currency, coin, and checkbook. How many leather wallets these days include a petite built in coin purse, separate leather checkbook cover (it's underneath the plastic credit card holder), and  a coordinating gold tone pen?

You see why I couldn't leave it behind.

This gem was designed and produced by Don Loper, under the Don Loper of California label.  Loper started out as a Hollywood costume designer for MGM in the late 1930s and  later, in the 1960s, designed for such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald.  He is pictured with her mannequin shown below:

via damesofdialogue

Loper also tried his hand at interior design (in posh hotels like the Beverly Hilton), designed men's neckties, and during the 1950s and 1960s produced many lovely dresses under the Don Loper of Beverly Hills label, including the wool suit below:

via Twitpic

This next image is licensed, so you'll have to run over to Flickr to see Loper's amazing mod coat pattern from 1968.  Wish that were mine!  Here is a 60s-era mail order jacket  and blouse pattern that he designed as well:

via carbonated

Perhaps you remember the I Love Lucy episode entitled The Fashion Show that featured Don himself and his salon?  The one where Ricky nearly had a coronary after finding out how much Lucy spent on the dress? All of those hours watching TV as a kid did not go to waste because this episode introduced me to Don Loper!

via GregInHollywood

Finally, enjoy this short clip from the 1943 musical Thousands Cheer featuring Don Loper himself dancing with Maxine Barrat.  He's no Gene Kelly (one of the stars of the film) but it's a cute combination of fashion show and dance number:

Have you found any gems while thrifting or antiquing lately? Do tell!


  1. Oh how I love your new wallet! It's perfect. Now I have to scour the internets for Don Loper patterns! I have no where to wear that gorgeous suit but if I had it I'd go somewhere! The coat is dizzifyingly gorgeous!

  2. What a fab guy! Don't think they make em like him any more. :(

    Creative, talented, friendly and dances light on his feet. What's not to like? His hats. They are all totally bonkers. The dresses are great though, I'd wear any of them, but the hats???

    Really impressed with the dancing of Maxine Barrat, I'm amazed she didn't get her train caught in her heels. Check it out. Feel a bit sorry for the other dancers though, they look as if they are trying to dance with bricks on their feet. The wedges don't have split soles.

    Damn good post Collette, loads of links.

  3. You "new" vintage mod wallet is terrific! Of course it's even better since it is red!

    Thanks for linking your vintage find to Potpourri Friday! Hope you will make it a weekly stop.

    I have just become a friend and follower and hope you will do the same!

  4. Thanks Becky! If I owned that suit I would FIND somewhere to wear it!

    Bijoux, thanks so much for the kind words! I think Don was amazingly talented - how many people out there are choreographer, dancers, and designers? I really liked those wedges even though they weren't made for dancing, I would love a pair.

    Honey, thanks for stopping by! I like red too.

    1. wish I could have seen the dance number--alas--it's gone. I googled Don Loper this morning after I Love Lucy's fashion show was on ME tv at 7:30 am and came across your lovely blog. I am a vintage collector and wish I could de-clutter--but can't as of yet

    2. glad I was directed to your blog

  5. Hello Secret Santa Participant! Please check your email folder or spam, I have sent you an email on information I need asap. If you have not received the email, I need you to email ME ASAP. Nov. 1 is the last day to submit information and be a part of the swap. Thanks.

  6. What a gem of a find! I love how you know the background of Don Loper too. I DO remember that episode of Lucy!
    Thanks for the fun read!

  7. Thanks for shedding some light on Don Loper, I started to look for him cause i found a jewelry box with his name on it on the inside Don Loper from Beverly hills , it appears to be a 14k necklace with a 15 or so carat Peridot Gem in it. I haven't taken it anywhere as yet to be looked at


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