Tag Archives: vintage fashion

Magda Makkay Handbag, Early 1960s

I had been looking for a handbag that could be used for evening, but I didn’t want something really glitzy.  I simply do not live in a glitzy place!  I ran across this pretty bag back in the late spring.  It was signed on the inside, but I’m not very knowledgeable about vintage handbag brands, so I asked the experts at the Vintage Fashion Guild, and promptly got the answer.

It reads “Magda Makkay.”  The symbol above the name consists of two little hearts.

Today I finally got around to searching for some information on this brand.  It turns out that Magda Makkay was an actual person.  She was born in Hungary where she learned  the pocketbook craft.  In 1956 she was able to flee from revolution-torn Hungary and ended up in New York.   There she got a job at Koret handbags as a designer.

Makkay was still making handbags in 1982, the last reference I can find of her.  After a stint of making cloth and cheaper handbags for Charisma, in 1982 she was making  organizer bags that retailed for $80 (about $180 today).

Makkay worked by actually making a prototype of each of her designs.  This sample was then sent to the factory where it was reproduced.  According to Makkay, a handbag on paper did not always work the way the designer planned.  It was only through making an actual bag that a designer could be sure that the design worked.

My bag seems to be from the early to mid 1960s.  It has a fine interior of satin with a matching mirror with its own special slot.  Makkay must have been really fond of gold chain handles because many of the examples of her work that I’ve found online have them.

There are two pockets on the top that are part of the overall design.  The front panel lifts up to reach the interior, and it closes with a snap closure.

There is not a lot on information on the web about Makkay,  but within ten minutes of searching I found a newspaper article from 1977, and then one from 1982.  So getting the information was a relatively easy task that any person familiar with a Google could accomplish.  Considering that I also found three Magda Makkay handbags for sale that were labeled 1940s, I’ve got to wonder why a seller would not take the time to do a simple search for the brand name.   It make me want to stop and just say thank you to all the great sellers who do their homework.

Thank You.


Filed under Collecting