As a Hungarian Jew on the eve of the Second World War, a handbag manufacturer was the only place she could find work. She sold her first bags to the American soldiers stationed in Budapest after its liberation. This was how she met Gerson Leiber, marrying him and leaving Budapest for New York at the end of 1946. By the time Mamie Eisenhower carried a Leiber pearl and rhinestone clutch to the 1953 inaugural ball, Leiber was a well-known designer. Almost every first lady since Eisenhower has carried a Leiber handbag to their husband’s inauguration ball, including this bag, which was carried by Hillary Clinton to Bill Clinton’s reelection ball in 1996. It is modelled on the Clinton family’s cat, Socks, a member of the Clinton family so popular that the press had to be banned from using catnip to lure him within camera range.
On permanent display in the Museum of Bags.