Collection of Audrey M. Kail
This collection of handbags comes to the KSU Museum from longtime friend and supporter of the Museum, Audrey M. Kail. Mrs. Kail passed away early this year and she wanted her sparkling collection of bags by Judith Leiber and Kathrine Baumann to be shared with students and the public for years to come.
The story of the collection is actually a love story. Mrs. Kail was married to her beloved William for 56 years. They traveled the globe and enjoyed life, finding treasures along the way. When Mrs. Kail spotted a Leiber or Baumann bag that caught her eye, Mr. Kail often secretly purchased and surprised her with it later.
The collection includes clutch handbags and minaudières. Minaudières are an accessory, intended to substitute for an evening bag and often include a case with compartments, several items in a small space, such as a makeup compact, lipstick, watch, reading glasses, or keys.
Hungarian born, Judith Leiber survived WWII and married an American sergeant, moving to New York City in 1945. After working for other handbag companies, she founded her own business in 1963. Her evening bags are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship and designs encrusted with Swarovski crystals, combining whimsy and luxury.
Kathrine Baumann has been called “The Andy Warhol” of handbags, whose designs are inspired by everything from hamburgers to Mickey Mouse. She was an actress, working in Hollywood and began making bags for herself. In 1988 she founded K. Baumann Design in Beverly Hills where she designs her luxury bags, made in California and Italy.
The joy and beauty of each design embodies the playful and sparkling personality of Mrs. Kail.