Passage: Judith and Gerson Leiber


Judith and Gerson Lieber.

CBS News

We learned this past week of the passing, within hours of each other, of handbag designer Judith Lieber and artist Gerson Lieber, her husband of 72 years.

Born in Hungary, Judith Lieber had a calling: "I loved handbags, so my mother said, 'Well, why don't you go into that?' So I did!"

The Age of Adaline' premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on April 19, 2015 in New York City.  Featuring: Blake Lively Where: New York, New York, United States When: 20 Apr 2015
Blake Lively carries a Judith Leiber Koi Fish Crystal Clutch. WENN Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

She and her husband, known as Gus, arrived in this country from Hungary in 1947.

Lieber went into business for herself in 1963.

"I used to make the patterns and I used to pack every piece," she recalled to "Sunday Morning" in 2002. "And Gus used to deliver them uptown to the stores. That's how we started."

Whimsically decorated with thousands of colored beads, and selling for many thousands of dollars, Judith Lieber's handbags became THE fashion accessory.

"Three Standing Fur Models" by Gerson Leiber. Photo: Gary Mamay

A 2002 exhibition at Washington's Corcoran Gallery featured Hillary Clinton's custom-made "Socks the Cat" bag, along with Barbara Bush's "Millie the Dog."

Judith and Gus Lieber both died last Saturday, both of heart attacks.  

She was 97.  He was 96.

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Story produced by Juliana Kracov.