(born Judith Peto
in 1921 in Budapest, Hungary) is a world-renowned
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
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.
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.