Leiber, a name synomous with high-fashion bags, comes to India. At a star-studded event, the Ganesha Minaudiere—a handbag studded with 12,000 Swarovski crystals, and priced at Rs2.6 lakhs—was launched in New Delhi.
Maharani of Jaipur Padmini Devi, who graced the occasion at the New Delhi Claridges Hotel, exhibited a small part of her Leiber collection, which included 13 bags she collected over the years. “I buy Leiber bags because they’re beautifully crafted and detailed, have finesse, and are like pieces of art, little treasures”, says the Maharani, who’s been a collector since the 1980s.
Judith Leiber, founder of the brand, was born in Hungary. She survived the World War II holocaust, safely escaping to Switzerland. She later married an American GI soldier and moved to the US, eventually launching her own company in 1963.
Since the launch of her career, Judith Leiber has created more than 3,000 different designs for her purses. She is best known for her Swarovski crystal covered “minaudieres”—smaller purses with florid designs like animals and fruits that were motivated by her passions and personal interests. Her asparagus, tomato, watermelon and rose handbags were influenced by her love of gardening. Other inspirations have come from New York’s architecture and Asian art, among many others.
Lieber handbags are made by skilled craftsmen from all over the world. The beading of the bags can take up to 10 days, with 10,000 to 18,000 crystals applied by hand. “We keep in mind ‘MILK’ when designing the bags”, says Frank Zambrelli, creative director of Leiber, “Money, ID, Lipstick, and Keys. These are the essential items should fit into a ladies purse”, referring to the average size of the bags the company creates.
Many of the Leiber pieces are seen as art and have become collector’s items. They have been displayed in a number of museums including the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Insititute in Washington DC. Although Judith Leiber retired in 1998, her designs still remain a signature of unique style and sophistication.