Fashion & Beauty

Judith Leiber Is Gone, But the Glitter Remains

IN LATE APRIL the fashion world lost haute-accessory designer Judith Leiber, she of the glittery little evening bags toted by First Ladies, socialites and women who don’t faint when paying $4,000 for an evening accessory. The bags are mostly minaudières, small hard-shell clutches meant to hold little more than a lipstick—often not even a cellphone with which to summon your driver at the end of the gala (or your reading glasses so you can see the screen!).

Leiber took minaudières way over the top, turning them into crystal-encrusted objets d’art, and whimsical art objects at that: glittery curled-up kitties, plump pink pigs, bashful penguins, a perky monkey, a full-blown rose, a cupcake—and a whole raft of crystal-encrusted boxes, round, square and rectangular.

Minaudières have been around since the 1930s, we learn from Wikipedia, when Charles Arpels (yes, of Van Cleef & Arpels) got the idea of a metal reticule that would carry a fashionable woman’s nécéssaires as well as serve as another piece of jewelry for an evening outfit.

Even with Leiber gone, at age 97, her brand lives on (she and artist husband Gerson Leiber sold it to investors some years back). Even better, there are minaudières at much gentler prices, almost as glittery and obviously inspired by Leiber’s stunners. No French bulldogs or cupcakes, but lots of gleam and glitter to light up the night.
—Nancy McKeon

Whiting & Davis’s “Charity Heart” minaudière in baby-pink mesh (with an optional snake-style chain) has a lot of look for $178 at The company also allocates 25% of the purchase price to breast cancer research. Win, win.

Here’s a show-stopper in black and silvery sequins, the INC Cade clutch, designed for Macy’s. And, Macy’s says, it’s big enough to stow an iPhone 7! It’s $59.70 at

The Franckie Ombre box clutch, created by INC International Concepts for Macy’s, is now $59.70 at

A silvery mesh-covered canteen-style bag can be used with its wrist strap, over the shoulder with its chain—even as a crossbody bag. It’s by Whiting & Davis and is $255 at


The shape’s the thing with the Jane clutch by Kayu, perfect for summer, day or night. Clutch or crossbody (there’s a chain tucked inside), the rattan minaudière is available in the natural tone shown or in summery white. It’s now $123 at


In gunmetal gray (the pale champagne shown is gone), this Shimmer Metal Minaudière from Estee & Lilly, with its crossbody-style chain, is a low-key but dressy way to go hands-free at the party. It’s $32.99 at

Jeffrey Levinson’s Elina Pearl Gloss Clutch is made of aluminum and leather with a spectrum metallic finish. It comes in blue (shown), which shades to violet, and red, which glows in red and orange. It’s $1,250 at Levinson’s Elina Electric variations come in an aluminum finish ($895) and an 18K-gold-covered aluminum ($1,550). Or if you really want to go for broke, there’s the gold-flecked finish ($4,250). All at


“So Kate” is a signature Louboutin pointy-toe stiletto, and “So Kate” is the patent-leather Kate-shaped minaudière from Louboutin (look closely at the flap of the baguette and you’ll see the “So Kate” silhouette, from Louboutin’s original drawing of the shoe). It comes in shiny black, nude or red and is $850 at


From Nina, the “Gelsey” crystal-embellished minaudière will give off more light than the red-carpet photographers. It has a drop-in chain and can hold a pair of reading glasses! The bag is $125 at

Silver crystals with a gunmetal-gray serpent closure, or black crystals with a brighter silver serpent. Either is a good choice for this INC Emileh clutch, created by International Concepts for Macy’s. In either color it’s now $40.23 at and is also iPhone 7–friendly.

A handsome Deco-inspired box clutch faced with color-blocked metallic mesh is a tailored variant on the minaudière. By Whiting & Davis, it comes in black-multi (shown) and gold-multi. It’s $90 at


From Edie Parker at Saks Fifth Avenue, the “Jean” glittered acrylic minaudière has one inside wall covered with mirror (to reflect the good time you’re having, maybe). It comes in glittery silver and glittery gold and is $895 at

In luscious navy, or champagne or glittery black, the INC Evie clutch has the shape of more expensive bags. Also iPhone 7–friendly, and with a drop-in chain, it’s currently $79.50 at

Okay, then! Here’s Kate Spade New York coming at you with a pineapple bag, woven leather on a solid frame. And it has a wrist strap so you don’t have to clutch it and look as if you’re at the farmers market for the entire party. It’s $398 at


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