Judith Leiber: Legendary American Designer

Judith Leiber was born Judith Peto in Budapest, Hungary, where in 1939 she became an apprentice at the Hungarian Handbag Guild, and the first woman Meister (master) to be recognized by the Guild for her skill and workmanship. She once commented that she learned how to make the handbags from start to finish: “I used to make handbags for the Americans in exchange for dollars. After the Germans and the Russians, there was very little left in Hungary.” After World War II, she immigrated to the United States with her husband, Gerson Leiber. She met him in Budapest, when he was a sergeant in the US Army. By then, she was already an experienced handbag designer. In New York, she started her career

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