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When Hollywood leading man Terrence Howard arrived at the 2006 Oscars, he didn’t have a starlet clutching his arm. The Hustle & Flow nominee was sporting a $35,000 custom-made alligator and diamond clutch designed by San Ramon’s Ralph Barbero.

With the spring debut of his handbag line, Barbero has made his mark on the world of celebrity accessories—quite a career change from coaching De La Salle football, which he did until five years ago.

Barbero’s Borsa bag features a gem-encrusted thumb loop stitched into alligator skin. Former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown received one for his birthday, and Geena Davis toted the matching women’s purse, the Borsetta, on Commander in Chief. For next year’s Oscars, Barbero hopes to partner with diamond connoisseur Harry Winston to create the red carpet’s first million-dollar handbag.

Find Barbero Sicily handbags ($2,500 to $15,000 and up for the Borsa) at April in Paris, 55 Clement St., San Francisco, (415) 750-9910; www.barberosicily.com.

 

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