Your Cart is Empty

A History of Judith Leiber Iconic Bags

Since 1963, there have been many iconic bags that the Judith Leiber Couture has expertly designed and flawlessly handcrafted. Now many museums around the world display some of these designs to highlight the attention to detail and artistic nature these outstanding evening bags possess. Over the years, the collection has grown, developed, and become renowned for its quirky qualities. Let’s take a look back at the history of some of the most iconic Judith Leiber bags.

Keeping it simple with the green leather

Before Judith Leiber turned to crystal clutches and purses, the bags that were produced only came in one color and material: green leather made from calfskin. The collection eventually moved away from calfskin and just one color, and instead began to be produced in snakeskin. Customers wanted more choice from their bags, and so this is why the Judith Leiber collection has the range of colors it does today. While the original green leather Leiber bag isn’t available to purchase, similar styles have been produced over the years, such as the Soho Emerald Snakeskin Clutch, paying tribute to the original design.

However, if, like many previously, you aren’t a fan of just green, you can get the Judith Leiber snake purse in a variety of colors, including navy, champagne, silver, black, and grey. A bag such as this provides you with the perfect accessory. It will complement any outfit without becoming the center of attention.

Within this very first collection, the Judith Leiber accessories, such as belts and jewelry, were what helped the business become the success it is now. While you can’t get your hands on any of the Judith Leiber belts anymore, you can dazzle in the Judith Leiber Jewelry.

How the classic, timeless collection became what it is today

It wasn’t until 1967, four years after the opening of the business, that the first metal bag was produced in Italy. However, there was one slight problem. It came back stained. While this might have been a disaster for many, this issue helped shape the future for Judith Leiber handbags. The stain was covered up by rhinestones. 

Up until this point, the Judith Leiber collection was taking inspiration from old handbag frames in antique shops, as well as Japanese boxes. Then, being so influenced by art and famous artists as well, such as George Braque and Mondrian, iconic bags such as the Flat Envelope Nude began to appear. Over the years, however, these envelope bags took inspiration from their own iconic look of using rhinestones and crystals. They became available in velvet, such as the Envelope Slate Velvet Clutch, and metal hardware covered completely in crystals, such as the Envelope Red Crystal Clutch.

The Judith Leiber crystal bags were handcrafted carefully using Swarovksi crystals, which is a tradition that has continued over the years. The crystal clutches created, from the Fizzy Capri Blue Crystal Clutch to the Slim Slide Champagne Clutch, helped people using them create the ultimate statement, and so quickly became a favorite amongst many.

From timeless to quirky

Bags are meant to be practical, yes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun, and a little bit quirky too! The transformation from the classic Judith Leiber style to novelty was a big step in becoming the couture it is today.

While vintage Judith Leiber bags were popular amongst the rich and famous, it was the novelty bags that took the world by a storm. They have since become something of an iconic look for many celebrities, including the Kardashians, Lupita Nyong’o, and Beyonce, who have sported, respectfully, the French Fries Rainbow, the Pineapple Hilo, and the Money Roll Clutch (which sadly isn’t available anymore).

The Money Roll Clutch inspired many other designs, however, including the Coins Bank, Stack of Cash Billions, and Pouch Money Bags Silver.

The novelty bags offered a unique opportunity of standing out, and although the much-loved classics were still popular, it was the novelty designs of food, animals, and everyday objects that were becoming the iconic vision of Judith Leiber.

Iconic Bags that became even more iconic

What happens when you take an iconic bag and use it in a film that will go onto become a million-dollar success? The bag becomes even more of an icon, that’s what. When Sex and the City came out in 2008, there were many shots of handbags throughout, but there was one stand out scene in the entire movie: when Charlotte’s daughter Lily, took Carrie’s phone and put it in the Judith Leiber Cupcake Strawberry crystal-covered clutch. The adorable bag caught the attention of people from all around the world!

Helping the community

In more recent times, due to ongoing struggles around the world, the Judith Leiber collection stated to produce bags that helped give back to the community. Every time the Rainbow Rainbow clutch is bought, 10% will go towards those who need it most. Not only will you get the satisfaction that you are doing your bit, but you can do so looking fabulous at the same time. 

More from the bags we know and love

As time moved forward, times were beginning to change. People no longer just wanted a Slim Slide Clutch Black; they wanted a personalized clutch that really made the ultimate statement. The Judith Leiber collections then bought about the opportunity to purchase the Slim Slide Bespoke Clutch, which offers the same design as the original, but with a difference. You can customize it with your name. For those that were craving the touch of personality, Judith Leiber provided the solution.

Over the 60 years of production, thousands of bags have been carefully designed, crafted, and bought. While they might have changed throughout their history, there has been one main aspect that was never lost. It is always about complementing your evening attire and making you feel confident, whether you choose to do this with a jeweled purse, silver pillbox, or vintage clutch. It will be interesting to see where the next collection goes.


Also in Press

America Ferrara in a pink dress holding a pink Judith Leiber clutch
Glamour on the Red Carpet: Judith Leiber Bags Shine Bright at the Oscars

Read More
Six Judith Leiber Purse Storage Solutions
Six Judith Leiber Purse Storage Solutions

Read More
Purse Maintenance Guidance: Tips to Extend the Life of Your Judith Leiber Bags
Purse Maintenance Guidance: Tips to Extend the Life of Your Judith Leiber Bags

Read More