A "pivotal" moment in the rise to superstardom of Judith Leiber's minaudieres, according to a fascinating online write-up about the iconic bags designer, is the appearance of one of her Swarovski crystal-covered clutch in the movie "Sex and the City". It was in the shape of a cupcake, with pink swirls and a golden cupcake liner.
Before that, however, Leiber was already making waves among the First Ladies of the United States. The first among these was Mamie Eisenhower, for whom Leiber designed a pale pink purse, to match her inaugural ball gown designed by another designer, Nettie Rosenstein (Leiber at the time worked for Rosenstein).
Leiber made a second inaugural ball purse for Eisenhower, and designed the purses of other First Ladies who followed her: Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.
Our embroidered black satin evening purse falls roughly between Sex and the City and Reagan, maybe even earlier.
Marked "Judith Leiber for Paristyle", it's a classy, elegant and muted creation, a seeming opposite of her later glitzy Swarovski-covered purses. Definitely a transitional style, yet impressive in its own way.
I've found online only three of Leiber's purses with this logo, and there's little information about the company Paristyle, except that it was in already in business in the 1950s-1960s.
Our evening purse is made of black satin, and hand-embroidered with long-stemmed black flowers. It has accordion sides, a flap top opening, and black silk rope handles with tassels.
The purse measures 8" wide x 6 1/2" tall, and has a depth of about 3". Its flap top opening has a demilune silhouette and a gilt snap closure. The inside is also black satin-lined, with two pockets, one of them zipped.
The silk rope strap is about 37" long, doubled up, with a pair of 3" long tassels at the end. They are attached to the purse via three lucite loops and can be removed or the rope can be reconfigured to either be shorter or longer.
Purse is marked Judith Leiber for Paristyle in a circular style gilt stamp logo on the bigger of the two pockets.
For its age, purse is in excellent condition, with little sign of use. The satin is still glossy with no visible stains, inside and out. The embroidered portions are intact, with no fraying. It is very clean, like it was not used much or not at all. Because it has lain folded in a drawer for a while though, the purse's has some creasing on one side; when purse is filled, this would disappear.
Embroidered Black Satin Evening Purse: Early Judith Leiber for Paristyle
USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box
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