For fashionistas like socialite Olivia Palermo, actress Teyonah Parris, and even little ol' me, a Jeffrey Levinson handbag is a vibrant-hued beaut that holds lipstick, keys, an iPhone 6, and still fits in the palm of your hand.
But the eponymously named red-carpet-worthy jewel also is a sculpted piece of aerodynamic art.
Levinson - who lives in Wynnewood and honed his design knowledge in the luxury-automobile industry - fashions the clutches from two aerospace-grade, hand-cut aluminum shells snugly held together with a specially designed frame.
The clasp easily snaps into place so as not to pinch fingers. And although the lightweight bag boasts a seemingly airtight seal, the chirp of your stashed-away cellphone can be heard inside, thanks to an engineering secret that's patent-pending.
For the girl who spends her nights out on the step-and-repeats, it's a dream.
"These bags look beautiful and expensive," said Marquis Bias, a celebrity stylist, who secured a silver, smoked-nickel Levinson clutch for client Parris to carry last week to the New York premiere of Spike Lee's Chi-raq, in which she has a lead role. "The quality of the handbag is so impressive. The concept. The material. The construction. And I just love how the lambskin lining contrasts in each bag."
The list of early adapters include ABC's weather anchor Ginger Zee; Miss Universe Paulina Vega; and the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Forum's executive director, Gina Torry, who carried the bag to a reception the Forum hosted in February.
At the September Emmys, Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black carried a satin-chrome Levinson, and the next week, she was spotted with one of his brushed-copper rose clutches at Variety's Ten Latinos to Watch ceremony.
Local bold-faced names include philanthropist Elaine Grobman and gal-about-town Chelsea Baird Irwin.
"These are really sleek and different," said Cindy Pierce, the shoe-and-handbag designer for high-end specialty store Stanley Korshak in Dallas, which carries Jeffrey Levinson bags. "And they come in such a variety of colors and metal finishes that it's really easy for a woman to find one to match" her dress.
Each bag looks as if it has been drenched in the most electrifying paints - from glossy red to smoky gray, as well as emerald green and a high-polished rose. (Think this year's Pantone color of the year, called Rose Quartz.) Others are hand-painted, one with a dragon motif that comes courtesy of Philadelphia designer Fred Sicoli (I'd like to see actress Emilia Clarke of HBO's Game of Thrones carry this bag to the show's premiere), and another that looks like cracked porcelain.
The high level of detail explains the luxury price tag. Much like Edie Parkers and Judith Leibers, a Jeffrey Levinson bag can sell for $900 (for a solid-hued gloss bag) to $2,200 (for the hand-painted dragon).
"I never wanted to be gimmicky," said Levinson, 44, a father of three. "I want my bags to be serious and thoughtful and allow women to have fun expressing themselves."
Levinson, a native of the area, hails from a somewhat artistic family. His dad, Cary, is a Center City partner at Pepper, Hamilton. But grandfather Ezekiel was a well-known architect who designed Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood and its award-winning Star of David that sits atop the synagogue. And the mixed-media sculptures of his aunt Leslie Pontz have a permanent home in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Still, Levinson, who received his undergraduate degree in environmental science from Wesleyan in Connecticut and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, was slow to find his artistic niche.
After graduating, Levinson worked for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit and then took a job in the marketing department at Jaguar in Irvine, Calif.
"That was my benchmark for what was good design," Levinson said. "There, I learned how successful design can make an immediate and emotional connection to people, and I learned the importance of getting the materials right."
He left Jaguar in 2006 and moved back to the area with his wife and then-young children. At first he took a job in corporate finance, but grew restless. He would rather be working on his own creative endeavors.
Levinson had in his arsenal some drawings of a knapsack with technology to charge mobile devices. But by the time he turned his attention to it in 2013, urban living was more salable than outdoorsy accessories. Man bags had been overdone; a handbag that featured saturated colors and hand-painted designs was fresh.
With the help of silent investors, Levinson found the engineers who worked with him to fine-tune the bag's luxury-car feel and to source lambskin from Italy. The bag is assembled in Philadelphia.
Levinson launched his handbags in spring 2014, not with a party, but by making cold calls to boutiques. Sweet William, a suburban Chicago specialty store, was the first to take a chance that August. Then, a month later, Palermo carried a snow-leopard Levinson to the New York Fashion Week collections. The bags were on their way to being discovered by stylists like Bias, always in search of the next of the hottest accessories.
Over the next year, Levinson hopes for tastemakers to connect the Jeffrey Levinson brand to handbags in the same way they do Manolo Blahnik to shoes, or Tiffany to diamonds.
And with ball season underway, there's a good chance that may happen soon.
The bags are available at www.jeffreylevinson.com or by calling 610-324-8844.