LifestyleFashion and Shopping

Inside the Judith Leiber exhibit in East Hampton

Some of the jeweled bags on display in

Some of the jeweled bags on display in Leiber’s collection. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Handbag fanatics, start drooling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has 80 Judith Leiber handbags, and the Smithsonian has the bags she designed for nearly every first lady since Mamie Eisenhower. But now, for the first time you can see more than 500 of her handbags -- the largest collection ever assembled, and each one a tiny work of art -- at the famed designer's gallery in East Hampton.

Animals, here a polar bear and a hedgehog,
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Animals, here a polar bear and a hedgehog, are favorites among Leiber’s fans.

A fat fish, another from Leiber’s animal kingdom.
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A fat fish, another from Leiber’s animal kingdom.

A bejeweled penguin from Leiber’s collection.
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A bejeweled penguin from Leiber’s collection.

A jeweled bag comes with its own mirror
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A jeweled bag comes with its own mirror and comb.

An array of Judith Lieber belts.
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

An array of Judith Lieber belts.

An array of Judith Lieber belts.
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

An array of Judith Lieber belts.

Some of the jeweled bags on display in
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Some of the jeweled bags on display in Leiber’s collection.

Some of the jeweled bags on display in
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Some of the jeweled bags on display in Leiber’s collection.

Butterflies and Buddhas, among the fanciful Leiber designs.
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Butterflies and Buddhas, among the fanciful Leiber designs.

A clutch with multi-colored stones, designed for Hillary
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A clutch with multi-colored stones, designed for Hillary Clinton.

THE FIRST MRS. BUSH This frame bag is
Photo Credit: 1.5220507 Gordon M. Grant

THE FIRST MRS. BUSH This frame bag is a replica of a bag Leiber designed for Barbara Bush. (One difference-the First Lady's is blue.) Bush was "one of the nicest of all the 'Ladies' " says Leiber.

This is a replica of a bag inspired
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

This is a replica of a bag inspired by the Clintons' cat, Socks. When she was First Lady, Hillary Clinton carried the original to a White House Correspondents' Dinner. Reporters may have thought she was amused at their jokes, but "she was really smiling at her little cat," says Leiber. "She told me that-she was very pleased with it."

AWARD WINNER Leiber was the first handbag designer
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

AWARD WINNER Leiber was the first handbag designer to win fashion's prestigious Coty Award in 1973, thanks to designs like this metallic stripe purse.

THE NEXT MRS. BUSH This small clutch resembles
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

THE NEXT MRS. BUSH This small clutch resembles a bag Leiber made after George W. Bush's reelection, part of Laura Bush's second inauguration wardrobe.

While Leiber is primarily a handbag designer, she’s
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

While Leiber is primarily a handbag designer, she’s branched out into costume jewelry like belts and brooches, including these on display in the collection.

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