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FORTE Beads Collaborations: Judith Leiber

Judith Leiber re-defined evening purses. Clutches that come in various cheeky forms from penguins to french fries are made with a metal shell encrusted by swarovski crystals and plated in silver or gold. In 2017, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger joined the brand as co-owner, creative director and global brand ambassador. She has since relaunched their jewelry line, featuring rings, necklaces, and earrings featuring emoji pendants and dirty martinis, paying tribute to the brand’s iconic archive. The Judith Leiber Forte Beads Bracelet is equally inspired, with 30 semi-precious stone beads including Moonstone, Tiger’s Eye, and Rock Crystal.

Judith Leiber FORTE Beads Bracelet

Shop the Judith Leiber x FORTE Beads Bracelet

Describe your experience of designing a Forte Beads bracelet. How did you come to your design? Did you immediately know what beads you were drawn to, or did you have to think about it?

I absolutely LOVED the design process with the Forte Beads. It is so clever, fun and user-friendly! It also allows the user to experiment and encourages creativity. It is also a fun activity to do with kids! The possibilities are endless and I designed many different versions until I came up with the one that was my absolute favorite! I found it quite therapeutic and relaxing!

Are these colors you typically use in your design practice? If so, is there ever a time when you deviate from this palette?

I chose the colors that are most commonly used in our Judith Leiber crystal palettes which are Blacks, Silvers and Gold‘s. Of course, we offer many other color options among our designs, but I feel like this is our most popular core color palette with our Minaudieres.

Judith Leiber bag

What memories, ideas, or feelings do these colors bring up for you?

These colors as well as the materials were chosen for their timeless elegance and neutral palette that can be worn both day and night with absolutely EVERYTHING! I also feel like the properties of the beads such as the tigers eye and rock crystal were also important to me.

How do you anticipate others will feel when wearing your bracelet; what kinds of emotions and stories do you hope to evoke?

I hope others will feel beautiful, safe and lucky when they wear the bracelet.

Where do colors show up in other parts of your life? In your home, garden, clothes, in books, movies, etc.? What are 'your' colors?

We are surrounded by colors everywhere but I would definitely say in our home there is a lot of Red  White and Blue! My favorite color would probably be blue as there are so many different variations! I also really love Green as well!

Judith Leiber clutch shot

What is a color you’ve never worked with before and why?

I do not think there is a color that I have never worked with …however, I recently worked a lot more with purple which is a color that for some reason I tend to overlook.

What are some sources of inspiration you look towards in your own design practice?

My main sources of inspiration are people, places, art and nature. I am always browsing art and lifestyle books whenever and wherever I can get my hands on them and I am always tearing pages out of magazines!

clutch camera bag

What, or with whom, is your dream collaboration?

My dream collaborations are always working with my friends, however I would love to collaborate with a larger brand like Dolce and Gabanna or Moschino. I love that both of these brands incorporate fantasy and whimsical design. I would really love to do a Hermes collaboration as well!!!!!

What are the best and worst parts of working in fashion?

I love working in fashion! It is constantly changing and evolving and I think it is the most accessible form of self expression. Perhaps the worst part of the industry is the intense seasonal calendar and having to turn around collections back to back as soon as you finish them!

Judith Leiber workshop

How has the industry changed since you’ve been working? How do you think it will change in the post-pandemic future?

I am thrilled how the industry has evolved in such a positive way to embrace diversity of all sizes, ages and ethnicity. I also am proud of how the industry is trying to be more conscious of animal cruelty and minimizing our global footprint on our environment. I think online mobile shopping will continue to evolve but in a much more sophisticated way. I think we are just at the tip of the iceberg.

What is the most critical part of your daily routine? What is the most critical part of your creative routine?

The most critical part of my daily routine is my mornings I never get out of bed until I remind myself how lucky and grateful I am for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me, followed by several cups of strong coffee, a morning walk and I am good to go! The most critical part of my creative routine is to make sure I am relaxed and happy. If my mind is too stressed and distracted, I cannot be creative!

When you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall in your practice, is there a person or place you seek out to help get back on track?

My husband Tommy is always the person I go to when I need to get back on track. He is my very best friend and always encourages, inspires and motivates me!

judith leiber bow

Tell us about a favorite piece of jewelry that you own. Where did you get it – was it a gift, a hand-me-down, a travel find? What makes it so special?

I have MANY pieces of jewelry! One is my engagement ring, another would be a diamond necklace with all of my children’s names on it, and another is a charm necklace by Chantecler that every summer I buy a new charm for it when I go to Capri! For me the jewelry is more about the memory or sentiment it invokes than the value!

What’s one object in your home or prized possession you can’t live without and why?

The one thing in my home I could not live without would be my photographs and photo albums! They are my MOST special and prized possessions! They are irreplaceable and capture the most special memories and moments of time in my life.

Describe your ideal vacation. What are you wearing, where are you going and who would you take with you?

My ideal vacation is in a bathing suit on a sunny remote beach or on our boat with my family and my favorite friends that make me laugh all the time!