Thursday, 18 March 2010

The First Lady of Clutches

You might remember this clutch I featured in a previous post, on love and just how complicated it was (I was contemplating what I would be wearing on Valentine's day - it was a 2-part post on MHIINYC and on Style Cartel). I forgot to post what I did end up wearing; it was option A but as opposed to spending it with Jack (or my man at the time) the girls and I were sewing. Valentine's day was actually quite a funny one but that's a whole other story.
I had actually just stumbled across the camel clutch the first time around but today I was reading the story of the remarkable lady behind the clutch. Judith Leiber (nee Peto) a Jew luckily escaped the Holocaust during the second World War and later emigrated to the States after marrying G.I. Joe Gerson Leiber.She started making handbags after the war and has been quoted saying "Hitler put me in the handbag business".

She is most famous for her minaudieres (small, jewelled cases, for women's personal objects or cosmetics), tiny creations each of which are hand-made and can have as many as 13,000 Swarovski crystals encrusted onto them. Judith has long retired (in 1998) but the company continues to create masterpieces based on her original designs. Her pieces are quite pricey, but understandably so - considering the amount of work that goes into each piece but are still highly favoured amongst celebrities and pretty much every First Lady of the USA. Even little Lily had the Strawberry Cupcake clutch for Aunt Carrie's wedding in SATC.

Here are my favourite pieces of the about 3,500 that she's made (although I have to say, every time I see a new one my top 5 list changes ever so slightly so let's say these are my favourite at the moment):

1. Da Yun - from the Pre-Fall 2010 collection. For my inner tigress as he says...
2. Bee Hive clutch - the detailing on this is breath-taking
3. Silver/Gold 'Package' clutch - simple and elegant
4. Hello Kitty clutch - too cute
5. Multicoloured Finch clutch
See more of Judith's designs on her website Judith Leiber and read more about the remarkable woman on the Jewish Women's Archive site. A remarkable story and it's a great lesson to all that where you've come from/ your background shouldn't be a limitation to what you can achieve in life.

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