Judith Leiber is undergoing a major overhaul in order to appeal to Millennial clients.
Hungary-born Leiber founded her eponymous luxury handbag brand in 1963, and quickly built up a reputation for Swarovski crystal-encrusted minaudieres and purses made in the shapes of animals and fruit.
The designs have been sported by several U.S. First Ladies, including Mamie Eisenhower and Hillary Clinton, as well as celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry.
While Leiber, 95, decided to retire in 1998, her brand is about to see a major resurgence under Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, who has just entered into a partnership with owner Authentic Brands Group, to become the brand’s co-owner, creative director and global brand ambassador.
Handbag designer and entrepreneur Dee, the wife of American fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, has taken on a minority stake in the company and now plans to refresh the brand for the younger consumer.
“What I’m interested in doing is seeing where we can take the brand,” she told WWD. “Nowadays the biggest complaint is, ‘We can’t fit phones in the bag.’ It’s an interesting challenge to evolve the brand. I would love to do a collaboration with Apple or Samsung, or do some kind of tech marriage to update it a little bit.”
Dee adds that she has plans to extend the brand into new regions and territories. She also has future hopes of launching new categories in homeware, shoes, perfume and eyewear.
“We’ll take an overall look at everything,” she said. “Part of the challenge with what is going on at retail is keeping it unique and fresh. I like the idea of doing one-off collaborations, especially with collector items. It’s there, and if you don’t get it, we’re on to the next.”
Dee has also set her sights on capsule collections which would offer more affordable items than the classic range, which are typically priced between $1,995 (£1,645) and $3,495 (£2,830), with some going as high as $8,000 (£6,600).