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First Ladies’ Handbags Highlight the Art of Judith Leiber at Heritage Auctions

An exclusive collection of designer Judith Leiber’s most iconic luxury handbags — including custom creations for Presidential First Ladies — will be offered to the public for the first time in Heritage Auctions’ special presentation of The Art of Judith Leiber Luxury CollectionTM, Oct. 9, in Dallas.

More than 500 special works will be offered during the coming months, the first of which includes 300 rare and coveted forms, including a one-of-a-kind White Satin & Silver Crystal Evening Bag made especially to be carried by Nancy Reagan to her husband’s 1985 Presidential Inauguration (est. $1,000-$2,000) and a Crystal Socks Sleeping Tuxedo Cat Minaudiere Evening Bag created for and worn by Hillary Clinton (est. $1,000-$2,000).

“Despite humble beginnings, Judith Leiber’s exquisite taste made her a worldwide style icon, whose unique use of color, form and texture elevated the minaudiere into a wearable piece of modern and contemporary art,” said Diane D’Amato, Director of Luxury Accessories at Heritage Auctions in New York. “Her bags are included in the permanent collections of prestigious institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. This auction marks the first time many of these creations have ever been offered to the public and we think collectors will be thrilled by the size and scope of the selection.”

First sculpted in a wax mold, then cast in brass hardware, and finally hand painted and decorated with brilliant Austrian crystals, Judith Leiber’s minaudieres thrive at the crossroads of art, design, and style. It was the Full Bead Silver & Green Crystal Rose Minaudiere Evening Bag that secured Leiber’s reputation as an international fashion icon. A perfect complement to any daytime or evening wear, this version has a gold tone base and covered in silver crystals (est. $1,000-$2,000).


Rare forms include a White & Pink Iridescent Sundial Seashell Minaudiere Evening Bag, a unique collector’s find given its unusual iridescent sundial seashell form accented with gold tone hardware (est. $1,000-$2,000) and a Full Bead Pink & Black Crystal Jazzy Bow Minaudiere Evening Bag, bursting with energy and a multitude of colorful crystals (est. $800-$1,200).

Judith Leiber’s signature use of animal forms achieves sculptural triumph in the complex form of a Multicolored Crystal Foo Dog Minaudiere (est. $1,000-$2,000). Adorned in purple, gold, orange green, and red crystals, the approach creates a vibrant display of color and form all over the figure’s twisted body, and all with eyes fashioned from black onyx stones.

A cute and quirky Black & Silver Crystal Piebald Pig Minaudiere Evening Bag is done in black and silver crystals (est. $1,000-$2,000). A Full Bead Silver & Black Crystal Panda Bear Minaudiere wears a Chinese red and gold vest with buttons done in black onyx and carnelian. The bag was carried by American fashion designer Jeremy Scott to the American Fashion Awards in 2000 (est. $800-$1,200).

A Full Bead Black & Red Crystal Penguin Minaudiere Evening Bag is executed in black, silver, red, and gold crystals to create an object of both style and innovation (est. $800-$1,200). An important Full Bead Pink & Silver Crystal and Fringe Train Case Minaudiere Evening Bag features unusual pink fringe at the base encircling a gold leather bottom. The fun and functional bag opens in two places revealing two gold leather lined compartments that seal with two rose quartz and glass pearl pushlock closures (est. $800-$1,200).

Email: bid@ha.com

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