Judith Leiber, also known by her birth name, Judit Peto, was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1921.
She was sent to King's College London in 1938 by her family to study chemistry for the cosmetics industry, it was only when she returned to Hungary before World War II where she obtained a traineeship at a handbag company, thanks to her family connections.
She learned to cut and mould leather, make patterns, frame and stitch bags. She was the first woman to graduate as a master craftswoman and becoming the first woman to join the Hungarian Handbag Guild in Budapest.
After working as a handbag designer for other companies, Leiber founded her own business in 1963. She is known for her crystal minaudières, evening purses made of a metal shell often encrusted with Swarovski crystals, plated with silver or gold and with various forms, such as baby pigs, slices of watermelon, cupcakes, peacocks, penguins, and snakes.
Sold at exclusive boutiques around the world, her purses often cost several thousands of dollars and have become a status symbol for many women.
The Judith Leiber boutiques are exclusive as there are only four in the world. They are located in New Delhi, Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. However, some of her collection is available at selected fashion stores like Neiman Marcus, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, Holt Renfrew and Harrods.
Leiber died at her home in Springs, New York, on April 28, 2018, just a few hours after her husband Gerson Leiber had died.