One of the most renowned handbag makers of all times, the legendary Judith Leiber, passed away this weekend. Leiber who lived a very long and happy life died at 97. Her name is stamped on some of the most opulent red-carpet clutches you’ve ever seen. She was the go-to designer for all of the Hollywood stars. If you remember the epic swan-shaped purse that Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and the City, you have to know that it was actually one of Judith’s masterpieces.
During her long career, the popular minaudière-maker worked with a number of high-end clients. Blake Lively, Rihanna, Beyonce, Hilary Clinton, Barbara Bush, are just a part of the popular names that still flaunt Leiber’s mesmerizing clutches and purses. Her legacy in the fashion world is beyond impressive. Judith’s innovative mind always thought of the most beautiful ways to transform a small clutch into a standout accessory. Born in Hungary, later a Holocaust survivor, she is the first handbag designer to win a Coty Award.
“You have to have a sense of humor. I like to do things that look crazy yet are practical. My mania is to do a bag that looks as good empty as it does stuffed.”- the designer once said.
The designer often covered her minaudières with Swarovski crystals and diamonds. Every one of her purses can add full-blown glamour to a simple outfit. Judith received numerous awards that celebrate her work, including the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. The process of creating a Judith Leiber bag took a lot of hours and even more crystals. The iconic handbag designer founded her label in 1963. Before that, she worked for other handbag labels for over 15 years. Judith married Gerson Leiber, the love of her life in 1946. The two stayed together for 72 years. Gerson and his wife died within hours apart this weekend in New York.
Her designs ranged from cute, gorgeous, opulent to even sometimes weird. Imagine owning a minaudière that is worth thousands of dollars, shaped like an asparagus. For some it’s nonsense, for others it’s pure art. Among her standout clutch shapes are the Hello Kitty-shaped head, the pets of Barbara Bush and Hilary Clinton, cupcakes, a French bulldog and plenty of other unique ones. Today, Leiber’s work is displayed in a number of museums, including The Smithsonian and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Such an impressive talent will never be forgotten.