American menswear fashion designer known for his tailored suits.
American menswear fashion designer known for his tailored suits.
Adolfo Sardiña, best known as Adolfo, began his successful fashion career in Paris as an apprentice to Balenciaga. American buyers admired his work and encouraged him to come to New York. In 1953 he became a designer for the milliner Emme. Adolfo hats earned him his first Coty Award in 1955.
In 1962 Adolfo started his own business. A few years later, on the theory that if he could design a hat he could design anything, Adolfo started making his Chanel-inspired suits and his unusual evening gowns. In 1969 he was presented with a special Coty Award for his contribution to design from head to toe. Adolfo carried his theory further in 1976 with men’s clothes for Leon of Paris.
In the short time Adolfo has been in men’s wear, he has won much acclaim. He nominated for the 1977 Coty Award. Adolfo’s talents are even wider spread now—designing shirts, neck wear, activewear, personal leather goods ladies fur coats, not to mention scarfs, hats, luggage, perfume, men’s slacks, ladies knits and silk blouses, boys shirts and men’s shoes.
“A person can look put together without appearing too rigid or too extravagant, “says Adolfo. “If people are astute enough to combine different clothes with flair and style, they can create their own fashion. We all must maintain the freedom to show off individuality. Fashion should be revolutionary, but always in the direction of good taste.” When not on the road for personal appearances, Adolfo can be found from dawn to dusk working on new ideas in his design studio.
Gilbert Adrian, known simply as Adrian, epitomized the magic of Hollywood glamour and created a unique and quintessentially American style. He was born in Connecticut in 1903 and began his career as a designer for Broadway musicals. In 1925, he moved from New York City to Los Angeles to work in film, most notably at MGM, until 1941. During the darkest years of the Great Depression, Adrian combined an appreciation for detail in Parisian couture with a distinctive American sensibility and created unforgettable fashions for the big screen. Among his most memorable designs are the bias-cut silk gowns that became Jean Harlow's signature look and Joan Crawford's broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted power suits that pioneered a revolution in the way American women dressed. Other examples from his Hollywood years include the opulent and often seductive ensembles from films such as "Mata Hari," "Romance," "Camille," "Marie Antoinette", "DinnerT," and "The Philadelphia Story." He designed hats for Greta Garbo in "Romance" (1930) and "Camille" (1936), for Jean Harlow in "Blonde Bombshell" (1933), and for Joan Crawford in "The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936).
Gilbert Adrian's career as a high fashion designer flourished in the years from 1942 to 1952 when he had a custom salon in Beverly Hills and a ready-to-wear line in the most exclusive specialty stores of the day. Adrian's fashion designs included his strong-shouldered suits, provocative cocktail dresses, and art-inflected evening gowns. Significantly, contemporary designers such as Azzedine Alaia and Geoffrey Beene admire Adrian for his use of imaginative themes and sophisticated technical constructions, all inflected by his signature wit. In 2002 the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art developed the exhibition ''Adrian: American Glamour'' which presented a comprehensive look at Adrian's lifetime of work as an artist, a costume designer, and an American couturier.
President and CEO of Sanofi Beaute, Lawrence Aiken began working in the fragrance industry in 1980.
Dr. Fernando Aleu was born in Spain. He moved from Spain to the University of Iowa. While working at NYU in the neurology department, he and his business partner started a company called Compar. His business was created in November, 1969 as a way to distribute the products of Paco Rabanne, a friend and designer. Since then, the compnay has made many other agreements with designers, such as Carolina Herrera. In 1970, a fragrance his company produced, Calantra, was a potential nominee at the Fragrance Foundation's award ceremony. This was Aleu's first interaction with the Fragrance Foundation and Annette Green. Around 1976, he was offered as position as president of the Fragrance Foundation, partially due to his relative neutrality in judging other's fragrances. He was president for about 14 years, although stepped down for a period of time early in his presidency. He later held the position as the president of the Fragrance Foundation Research Fund.
Pearl Levy studied at Cooper Union and the Traphagan School. At the age of twelve she sold her first designs to children’s wear manufacturer Joseph Love, and at seventeen she started her own business. Prior to striking out on her own, Levy was employed as a designer by coat manufacturer Rubin Endler, Inc. In 1930, Levy married Albert Louis “A. L.” Alexander, a police reporter-turned-radio announcer. After her marriage, Levy became known, both personally and professionally, as Pearl Levy Alexander, Pearl L. Alexander, and Pearl Alexander. She eventually married a second time, and by the early 1960s was known as Mrs. Pearl Lipman.
Victor Alfaro is a Mexican fashion designer based in New York City. His collection is sold under the VICTOR ALFARO label, and his company’s ready-to-wear collection is available at luxury retailers such as Barneys New York, The Room, Lane Crawford, Net-a-Porter and several boutiques throughout the U.S. Alfaro also designs a home furnishings collection under the CASA by Victor Alfaro brand, sold exclusively at The Bon-Ton Stores.
Alfaro came to the U.S. in 1981 from Mexico and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1987. Since the inception of his company, he has been honored with numerous industry accolades and awards recognizing his talent, including the Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent at the 1995 CFDA Fashion Awards.
Hardy Amies (1909-2003) was an English fashion designer. From 1952 to 1989, Aimes served as official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II. Aimes's fashion house was known for its classic, tailored post-war designs.
Italian fashion designer. Armani was dubbed the ‘Sexy Tailor’ by the American fashion press for sartorial innovations he introduced in menswear. He brought sensual drape to traditional suit coats by eliminating rigid interlinings that had shaped and restricted men’s clothing in the 1970s. To complement his new softly-tailored coats, he created short, supple, collared shirts and textural, patterned ties. Armani’s impact on menswear went beyond unstructured sewing techniques to include a serene color palette inspired by the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. The neutral earth tones included an inventive grey–beige (‘greige’), moss, mushroom and smoky grey–blue, tones not seen before in menswear. Armani claimed to be ‘the stylist without color’. Armani also brought a feminine touch to menswear and eventually expanded his design aesthetic to women’s clothing, bringing a powerful look to women’s fashion. His minimal modernism in cut and fit, while retaining maximum impact in silhouette and color, stimulated the fashion imagination of Hollywood, retailers, journalists and customers of both sexes.
Love of stage and cinema inspired Armani throughout his career, proving to be the catalyst to his future international recognition. After studying medicine, he completed his military service in the Army infirmary but sought civilian work more compatible with his temperament. In 1957 Armani went to work at La Rinascente, Milan, Italy’s most important fashion store, where his innovative visual merchandising skills earned him a promotion to their style office. Armani travelled extensively to select unique products for the store. He attracted the attention of Nino Cerutti (b 1930), an Italian textile and clothing manufacturer known for textured fabrics and sophisticated use of color. Armani was hired to design a ready-to-wear wholesale men’s line: Hitman. With a strong sense of style, color, packaging and promotion, but no formal training, Armani succeeded at Hitman for eight years.
Armani’s career shifted to entrepreneur and designer when he met Sergio Galeotti, his business and life partner, in the late 1960s. Both men launched the label Giorgio Armani, SpA on 24 July 1975. Armani was among a group of new Italian designers featured at Barney’s, New York in 1976. He also began cultivating contacts in Hollywood; his involvement in the 1980 film American Gigolo was a significant factor in launching Armani’s fame in a global fashion market. Acknowledging Milan as the chicest place for menswear, Paul Schrader, director of American Gigolo, selected Armani to outfit Richard Gere in his role as the urbane paid escort, Julian Kaye. Critics praised the exciting and original wardrobe of the star of the film, and enthusiasts could concurrently purchase the clothing they had just seen on screen in retail stores. Through this film, Armani’s popularity in the US was established, and afterwards, Saks Fifth Avenue premièred his first collection designed expressly for America. Armani was also the first designer to open an office in Los Angeles expressly to increase his celebrity clientele and his presence at the prestigious Academy Award ceremonies.
Recognizing the importance of the feminist movement, Armani drew inspiration from his mother’s simple, dignified style and his sister Rosanna’s penchant for wearing men’s jackets. Crossing gender boundaries, he used his signature minimalist tailoring techniques, softer textiles and earthy colors to create women’s ‘power suits’ that were also feminine. In 1979 Armani received the distinguished Neiman Marcus Fashion Award for interpreting his catwalk aesthetic for mass consumers worldwide. Hollywood’s most admired leading ladies also chose Armani for red carpet galas, making both his gowns and tuxedos the most sought-after (see fig.).
After the death of Sergio Galeotti in 1985, Armani assumed control of his business, expanding the Armani imprint into a comprehensive lifestyle aesthetic, from spectacles to home furnishings. As an astute and democratic businessman, Armani expanded his brand by launching diffusion lines: Emporio Armani for clothing at a level below couture and A/X for designer denim and casual T-shirts; both offered status dressing to a mass audience. In 2000, Armani’s achievement was recognized with a retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. One of the most successful global enterprises, Giorgio Armani is a privately held and owner-managed business. Armani’s goal was ‘to find a way to make and wear clothes for a time that was less formal but that still yearned for style’ (exh. cat., p. 254) and he has succeeded in artfully capturing the essence of late 20th and early 21st century clothing desires.
Norman Axelrod had been at Bloomingdale's for eleven years, and was the Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager at the time of this interview. Axelrod started in the summer of 1976 as a retail trainee and continued to work at Bloomingdale's into 1987, at which point he became the president and CEO of Linens 'n Things in 1988.
Arsho Baghsarian was born in Turkey to Armenian parents and immigrated to the United States in 1957, during her teen years, eager to study design. She would receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in fashion design From the Pratt Institute in New York in 1962.
That same year, after she competed in a competition for best student fashion design among the top ten fashion students in the country and received the prestigious annual N.Y. Fashion Designer Celanese Award, Baghsarian briefly designed sportswear on 7th Avenue. However, a phone call from former professor Laura Tosato Busgang was the catalyst that caused the young woman, who during adolescence had cut out and laced cardboard soles with bright ribbons, to begin what would become a successful career spanning more than forty-five years in the footwear industry. The phone call concerned a position with Genesco that was designed to reinvigorate it Christian Dior, a position Baghsarian gladly accepted in 1963. Six months later the Christian Dior division of Genesco merged with I Miller, another division of Genesco. Baghsarian took over design for the new label until 1969. Before leaving the label and pursuing other projects within the footwear industry, Baghsarian received the Pellon Award, as well as won the Leather Industries of America’s American Shoe Designer Award in the women’s best footwear category in 1968.
From 1969 to 1971, Baghsarian designed for Andrew Geller’s Etcetera & Adlib lines. After she teamed up with Jerry Miller and helped design his Margaret Jerrold and Shoe Biz lines. (Jerry Miller’s grandfather founded I. Miller, which he worked for until I. Miller was bought by Genesco and he started his own line.) She credits her fifteen years at the company as having a huge influence on her career years at the company run by Jerry Miller—credits him as having huge influence on her career since Miller’s Margaret Jerrold, Shoe Strings and Shoe Biz lines had her creating footwear in factories around the world from Spain to Italy to France and even becoming the first company to make fashion sandals at a price in mainland China. Miller was so impressed by Arsho’s work he created the Arsho for Shoe Biz label. The title of the line was fitting for a designer who did not remain behind the scenes and preferred instead to present her designs at trunk shows, such as at Lord & Taylor and Bonwit Teller and be on a first-name basis with customers.
In 1986 until 2008, Baghsarian designed for Stuart Weitzman & Company. During this time she also designed a couture line under the Arsho label, however, her talent led to Weitzman awarding her the label Arsho for Stuart Weitzman. She became the first full-time designer he collaborated with on his collection, which was not limited to casual stretch shoes, thongs, sneakers, mules, clogs, fur and mouton boots, bridal shoes and evening footwear complete with with pave stones and jeweled architectural heels. Within the company, Baghsarian was able to fully express her creativity, whether displaying her affinity for whimsical designs or her taste for glamor.
In January 2008, Baghsarian retired from the footwear industry and was inducted into Footwear News Hall of Fame. She now divides her time between Manhattan and Southhampton with her husband of more than forty years, fashion photographer and sculptor Avedis Baghsarian. Despite her retirement, she admits she will never stop designing.
Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) was a Spanish Basque fashion designer. He was a leading couturier in Spain. After moving to Paris during the Spanish Civil War, Balenciaga founded the Balenciaga fashion house, becoming renowned for his innovations in silhouettes and structural design. Although the House of Balenciaga closed following his death, it was later re-opened in 1986.
Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) was the founder of the the Balmain fashion house in 1945. The House of Balmain was a leading post-war fashion house, dressing royalty and famous actresses. Balmain's designs are well-known for their graceful and classic silhouettes. Balmain also designed costumes for film and theatre, as well as a line of perfumes.