For the Oscars, it's all in the bag

February 15, 2012 2:42:47 PM PST
Half of the fun of watching the Oscars is seeing what everyone's wearing on the red carpet, but it's not all about the dress.

It's also about who is carrying what.

"We watch carefully and we have our fingers crossed," Jana Matheson, creative director at Judith Leiber, said.

Watching and waiting to see exactly what Hollywood's leading ladies are holding as they stroll down the red carpet.

"Until they're dressed and on the red carpet, it's always a surprise," she said.

It's a subtle but very important detail that can separate the best and worst dressed- the handbag.

No one knows that more than the team here at Judith Leiber's New York headquarters, where everyone is busy getting ready for the Oscars.

They have set aside roughly 400 of their signature bags during this year's awards season, iconic pieces for celebrities to choose from.

"We've been quietly dominating the red carpet for years now and I think that the ground swell has been great for the business and great foe the recognition, the continued recognition of the brand," Matheson said.

They are truly works of art; some are adorned with between 10 and 12 thousand crystals. Each tiny jewel is strategically placed by hand to achieve maximum light reflection.

Starlets, fashion icons, even first ladies have endless hues and designs to gaze at but these bags have come a long way.

All of these crystals seen on the bags was a happy accident back in the 60's.

"It was a metal box from Italy that has a few imperfections and in the workshop, they had shipped all of these wonderful bags but they didn't know exactly what to do with a couple of scratches, so somebody had a great idea, to put a crystal on it," Matheson explained.

That person was Judith Leiber. The bag was the Chatelaine, which is still carried today.

This Oscar season, partially beaded, nudes and pastels are in demand, but which one will they pick? No one here knows for sure until the second the ladies step out of their limos.

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on Channel 7. For more information, please visit ONLINE:

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