(born Judith Peto
in 1921 in Budapest, Hungary
) is a designer
of luxury handbags
Peto was the first woman to join the handbag-makers guild in Budapest. A Jew
, she escaped the Holocaust
of World War II
to the safety of the Swiss
house when her father was able to obtain a Swiss schutzpass
, a document that gave the bearer safe passage. This pass is on view at the Holocaust Museum
in Washington DC
After the war, she began making handbags at home and then at a friend's small factory. She met and married an American
soldier, Gerson Leiber, and emigrated to the United States in 1948.
After working as a handbag designer for other companies, Leiber founded her own business in 1963. Sold at exclusive boutiques around the world, her handbags cost several thousand dollars and have become a status symbol for many women including several Presidential First Ladies
. Leiber is most famous for her minaudieres, which are often covered in crystals. Animals are a recurring theme, and often the most expensive purses of the collection with prices on some animal shaped minaudieres exceeding $5000.
A Judith Leiber cupcake minaudiere was featured in the Sex and the City
The Judith Leiber boutiques are exclusive as there are only four in the United States
, located in Las Vegas
(2 locations), Orange County
, and New York City
. A fifth location was located in Atlanta
, but closed in 2008 due to leasing issues.
A biography of Leiber and her husband, modernist artist Gergson Leiber, was... Read More