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.

Judith Leiber Sundae Bags

I have the sweetest sweet tooth out there – it rivals that of almost anyone I meet. Pair that with my love of accessories, and it seems that Judith Leiber is speaking to me directly with the bags above.

Judith Leiber Zoo

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Editor’s Picks