Ottoman by Dimitri Omersa for Liberty’s of London Distributed by Abercrombie & Fitch. Early example pig in original leather. England, mid 1960’s The pig was the first produced animal in the series and later followed by the leather elephant, donkey, rhinoceros English, circa 1960. 1 23 4
height: 15 in. 38 cm., width: 24 in. 61 cm., depth: 11 in. 28 cm.
Further readings and sources:
- The first leather pig was created on a whim when ‘Old Bill’, who made hand luggage for Liberty’s of London, used leftover leather to create a stuffed leather pig footstool.
Dimitri Omersa (1927-1985), a Yugoslav by birth, had been a naval officer and a political prisoner having been imprisoned by Tito for 10 years after the second world war. Dimitri and his wife Inge came to England in 1955 settling at Lavender Croft, a sanctuary for refugees in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
Dimitri Omersa found work in the leather trade representing a small leather company in Hitchin. It is there where he met ‘Old Bill’ at Liberty’s. ‘Old Bill’ was preparing to retire and agreed to have Dimitri Omersa to take over the business and continue the supply of pigs to Liberty’s. The business was re-located to Hitchin in 1958. Omersa had ideas for other animals in leather including the elephant, donkey and the leather rhinoceros.
Omersa began marketing the animals in North America. In 1963, he won a gold medal at the Californian State Fair for the leather Donkey. The “stuffed” animals caught the eye of Abercrombie & Fitch––the purveyor of fantasies to the rich and famous. A&F sold the animals from the mid 1960’s into the late 1980’s.
- “Bringing home the bacon: Poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman––’not a great poet, but a lovely, enjoyable one, the suburb-befriending bard, a wit with a bedside manner towards royalty like a slightly camp family doctor’ – takes part in a Radio 4 Poetry Prom in 1975, when the theme was animals.”
- From the Omersa archives. Andy Warhols muse Edie Sedgwick on her super king rhino photographed for a 1965 edition of vogue magazine and sienna miller recreating the scene in the film ‘factory girl’
- Dimitri Omersa, circa 1973.