Judith Leiber occupies an incredibly unique spot in American fashion. For decades, the brand has created meticulously jeweled evening bags in both traditional and whimsical forms, and they’ve been carried to some of the most important formal events in American culture, from the Academy Awards to presidential inaugurations.
Cheeky clutches may be a recent trend for some brands, but the idea has but one true originator: Judith Leiber. The brand is famous for its Austrian crystal-covered minaudieres, crafted to resemble things like elephants or bundles of grapes.
Without any context, who would have thought that carrying around a crystalized zoo animal would be so posh? Somehow, year after year, Judith Leiber makes its eccentric, idiosyncratic style work. The brand’s crystal-studded minaudière bags are Leiber’s most iconic pieces by a mile, and even though there are imitations, nothing beats owning the real deal.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know by now that I have a major sweet tooth. I have dessert or some sort of sweet treat at least once a day and I truly don’t discriminate.
Judith Leiber is one of those brands that you don’t often see at a big discount. Leiber’s tiny, sparkly evening bags are a favorite of collectors and hold a special place in the heart of so many bag owners that seasonal discounts are often unnecessary; one of her bags is like dessert after a steady diet of functional, durable leather bags.
That’s why the Judith Leiber sale at Gilt Groupe is all the more exciting – these are some seriously good prices on some incredibly special bags. My favorite is at top right, the one with the large, lovely, emerald-cut multichrome crystals. Check out the entire selection via Gilt Groupe, but don’t delay – the sale ends tomorrow.
Image via Moda Operandi
Perusing the Judith Leiber Resort 2012 offerings now available for advanced order on Moda Operandi is almost soothing. In the giant, endless parade of new ideas that is the fashion industry, Leiber’s commitment season after season to the company’s whimsical crystal-encrusted evening bags are a shelter in the storm. You know what you’ll find, even if you’re not sure exactly how it will take shape.
For Resort 2012, the theme is…resorts. See? Pleasantly straight-foward. There are shell clutches as well as a few box minaudieres named after famous streets in American resort towns (and inexplicably, one named after a mall in Atlanta). The collection also include a full line of evening bags dedicated to the twelve signs of the zodiac, perfect for the astrology nut in your life. (But seriously, Mercury Retrograde is not something to mess with.) If you have a Moda Operandi membership, you can pre-order the bags there until July 28th. If not, we have more highlights from the collection after the jump. (more…)
Judith Leiber Houston Semiprecious Beaded Clutch, $4995 via Bergdorf Goodman
Even if most women don’t have many occasions on which they might use a Judith Leiber clutch, looking at the tiny, sparkly, intricately beaded evening bags is a pastime in which we can all participate. Bergdorf Goodman has recently added a six-bag Judith Leiber Fall 2011 preview to its website, which not only gives us a closer look at what Leiber is doing for the season, but also lets you pre-order from the selection for delivery at the end of July, if you’re so inclined. Pictures and prices, after the jump. (more…)
I know that we’re all supposed to put on a happy face, sing holiday songs and pretend like we just love dealing with our various and assorted sociopathic family members this time of year, but let’s face it – Christmas is often as stressful as it is exciting. I’m blessed with a small extended family, almost all of whom I get along with swimmingly, but not everyone is so lucky. If you’re one of the people who will have to drink for your entire trip home so that you don’t stab your sister-in-law with a fork, then perhaps a little present to yourself is in order. Might I suggest something sparkly, fun and entirely anti-utilitarian like the Judith Leiber Crystal and Bead Embellished Clutch? (more…)
Some designers try to go in eight directions at once, but generally, Judith Leiber only has one goal, and that’s to create the sparkliest, shiniest collection of evening bags known to man. The company once again took on that task for Spring 2011, but it also tried its hand at the occasional exotic skin and day bag, standard Leiber flourishes of which not everyone is aware. And other than one exquisite white lizard clutch, I really wish Leiber had stuck with its signature crystals.
The python bags aren’t bad, per se, but they don’t have nearly the level of intricacy or perfection that one might normally expect from the company that made its name bedazzling everything from ducks to dachshunds. They’re simply average, whereas the rest of the collection features the kind of extraordinary detail work that we’ve come to expect from Judith Leiber. Although one nontraditional offering from Spring 2011 does impress: a tie-dyed leather bow clutch that might be the most effective use of the coloring technique that I’ve ever seen on a bag. (more…)
There are plenty of designers whose entrance to the wedding-bag market might seem counterintuitive: Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela, Commes des Garcon. (Although I’d personally love to see what all of those companies would do with the genre.) Judith Leiber? That company definitely not among them. In fact, the question shouldn’t be, “Why is Leiber entering the wedding market now?” but, “Why didn’t it make this totally obvious decision decades ago?”
Exceptionally few people can rationalize the purchase of one of Leiber’s tiny, crystal-encrusted minaudieres. Even some women who could potentially afford them don’t go to the kind of events that would allow one to carry, say, a miniature, glittering dachshund. But a wedding, the most formal (and some would say most important) day in a woman’s life, just might provide the perfect opportunity to purchase a very special little handbag. (more…)
After featuring a crystal-encrusted Valentino bag so prominently yesterday, it’s only fair to recognize the brand that made sparkly animal clutches into a worldwide business. Judith Leiber can bedazzle anything and make it into a great work of inventiveness, but my favorites from the brand are often among its more restrained offerings.
It’s difficult to imagine a context in which the Judith Leiber Crystal Chain Strap Clutch could be considered “restrained,” and yet that’s exactly what this evening bag is, when compared to a Swarovski-studded Dachsund. (more…)