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Morning Call: Emmaus Woman Puts What May Be World’s Largest Collection of Purses on Exhibit in Bethlehem and Allentown


Ilene Hochberg Wood’s collection of 3,000 handbags — the majority of which dwell in a 2,400-square-foot Quonset hut on her Lehigh Valley estate — will make a fashionista fall to her knees.

Her collection has everything: crossbodies and clutches, wristlets and duffels, hobos and backpacks. There are fun ones like the giant Converse sneaker shoulder bag. Other pieces drip with kitschy nostalgia like a pocketbook stamped with the Hess’s department-store logo.

Ilene Wood poses with handbags featuring paintings of her. ( Steve M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Ilene Wood poses with handbags featuring paintings of her. ( Steve M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) (Steven M. Falk/AP)

However, the real heart-stoppers are Wood's designer babies. Fashion's marquee names are all represented: Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Moschino. She has Judith Leiber minaudieres, Edie Parker clutches, and Louis Vuitton satchels. We are talking scores of Kellys and Birkins.

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