Judith Leiber Fashion Designer from Budapest

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Judith Leiber (born Judith Peto in 1921 in Budapest, Hungary) is a world-renowned designer of haute couture handbags.

Judith Peto was the first woman to join the handbag-makers guild in Budapest. A Jew, she escaped the Holocaust of World War II to the safety of the Swiss house when her father was able to obtain a Swiss schutzpass, a document that gave the bearer safe passage.

After the war, she began making handbags at home and then at a friend's small factory. She met and married an American soldier, Gerson Leiber, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1948.

After working as a handbag designer for other companies, Judith Leiber founded her own business in 1963 and quickly established herself as an industry leader at the cutting edge of luxurious fashion. Sold at exclusive boutiques around the world, her handbags cost several thousand dollars and have become a status symbol for many women including several Presidential First Ladies.

In 1994, Judith Leiber received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers. Classic examples of her work can be found on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.

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