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- Corporate body
The textile firm was founded in 1889 in the city of Lyon—the center of French luxury textile production since the days of Louis XIV. Bianchini-Férier set the industry standard with innovative and novel fabrics and cultivated a close relationship with the couture industry. Many of their most innovative fabrics, such as silk charmeuse and crepe georgette, were designed specifically for their use in couture gowns. From 1912 to 1928, the company collaborated with artist and designer Raoul Dufy whose bold, distinctive patterns often played out within the pages of Gazette du bon ton. The company survives to this day, albeit under a different name: in 1992, it was taken over by Tissages Bauman and later by Cédric Brochier.
Hazel Bishop was a chemist and invented the first long-lasting lipstick. In late 1948, she co-founded her company, Hazel Bishop, Inc., to manufacture her lipstick. In 1954, she left the company and became a consultant to the National Association of Leather Glove Manufacturers where she developed "Leather Lav," a leather glove cleaner in 1955. In 1957, she created a solid perfume stick called Perfemme. She became a professor at FIT in 1978, teaching in the cosmetics, fragrances, and toiletries department. Bishop helped develop a curriculum whose focus included marketing and merchandising principles, advertising, promotion, and publicity campaign concepts, and product knowledge. She was appointed to the Revlon Chair in Cosmetics Marketing in 1980. She stopped teaching in 1986, though she remained involved with the Fashion Institute as a consultant.
Jane Bixby Weller was educated at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois and Cooper Union in NYC. She worked as a fashion illustrator, producing work for such clients as Marshall Field & Co. and Saks Fifth Ave., among many others. Her illustrations were used by numerous major advertising agencies in the US and abroad and her editorial illustrations appeared in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Book illustrations by Weller were used publishing houses like Bantam Books, Avon, and Harcourt Brace & Co. During her career, Weller was recognized with numerous awards from the Chicago Art Directors Club, the NY Art Directors Club, and the Society of Illustrators. In 2001 she was included in the Society of Illustrators' exhibit "Woman Illustrators in America" and in the 2010 exhibit "The Line of Fashion." Weller's work is also included in the Society's Permanent Collection. Weller taught at the Parsons School of Design and retired after a long career as an educator at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Björk is a singer and musician from Reykjavík, Iceland.
- Corporate body
Elizabeth Blackwell was a British physician, and the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, as well as the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. She was a large supporter and advocate for education for women in medicine.
Manolo Blahnik (b. 1942) is a designer and manufacturer of what were called “the sexiest shoes in the world"—beautiful, expensive, and highly coveted by many of the world’s most fashionable women.
Manolo Blahnik was born on 27 November 1942 in the small village of Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands, where his family—his Spanish mother, Manuela, his Czechoslovakian father, Enan, and his younger sister, Evangelina—had a banana plantation. Manuela, a voracious consumer of fashion magazines, bought clothes on shopping trips to Paris and Madrid and had the island’s dressmaker copy styles from fashion magazines. She designed her own shoes with the help of the local cobbler.
Manolo Blahnik moved to Geneva at the age of fifteen to live with his father’s cousin. Here he had his first experiences of the theater, opera, and fine restaurants. He studied law for a short period but soon switched to literature and art history. Blahnik left Geneva for Paris in 1965 to study art and theater design. He worked at the trendy Left Bank shop GO, where he met the actress Anouk Aimée and the jewelry designer Paloma Picasso.
With Picasso’s encouragement, Blahnik soon moved to London. While working at Feathers, a trendy boutique, he continued to cultivate his connections to the worlds of fashion and culture and was known for his unique style. But Blahnik was still searching for a specific vocation; the search then took him to New York City.
Blahnik arrived in New York City in 1969. Hired by the store Zapata, he began designing men’s saddle shoes. In 1972 Blahnik was introduced to Ossie Clark, then one of London’s most fashionable designers, who asked him to design the shoes for his women’s collection. While the shoes were not commercially successful, the press noticed their originality of design. Blahnik had no formal training as a shoe maker and initally his designs were structually weak. He consulted with a London shoe manufacture in order to correct his lack of technical skills. Also during this time Blahnik met Diana Vreeland, who declared, “Young man, do things, do accessories. Do shoes” (McDowell, p. 84). This endorsement was seconded by China Machado, the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar. Women’s Wear Daily proclaimed Blahnik “one of the most exotic spirits in London" in 1973, and Footwear News described the Manolo Blahnik shoe on its front page as “the most talked about shoe in London.” Blahnik purchased Zapata from its owner in 1973. In 1978 he introduced a line exclusive to Bloomingdale’s, a well-known American retailer. Blahnik opened a second free-standing store a year later on New York’s Madison Avenue.
Blahnik’s creations received considerable publicity in the early 1980s, but his business was not running smoothly. Searching for alternatives, he was introduced by Dawn Mello, the vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, to an advertising copywriter named George Malkemus. Malkemus and his partner, Anthony Yurgaitis, went into business with Blahnik in 1982. They closed the Madison Avenue shop, opened a store on West Fifty-Fourth Street, and limited the distribution of Blahnik’s shoes to such prestigious retailers as Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus. By 1984 the newspaper USA Today projected earnings of a million dollars for the New York shop alone. Manolo Blahnik shoes began to appear on the runways of designers from Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Blass, and Geoffrey Beene to Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, and John Galliano.
Manolo Blahnik’s shoes became more popular than ever in the early twenty-first century. They appealed to an increasingly broad audience, in part because of their star billing on the television show Sex and the City. With production of “Manolos” limited to 10,000 to 15,000 pairs per month by four factories outside of Milan, the demand for these shoes exceeded the supply.
Manolo Blahnik won three awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in the 1980s and 1990s. The first special award was given in 1987; the second, for outstanding excellence in accessory design, in 1990. The third award came with the following tribute in 1997: “Blahnik has done for footwear what Worth did for the couture, making slippers into objects of desire, collectibles for women for whom Barbies are too girlish and Ferraris not girlish enough. An incredible piston in the engine of fashion, there is almost no designer he has not collaborated with, no designer who has not turned to him to transform a collection into a concert.”
The December 2003 issue of Footwear News quoted Alice Rawsthorn, the director of London’s Design Museum, which had been the site of a recent Blahnik retrospective: “Technically, aesthetically and conceptually, he is one of the most accomplished designers of our time in any field, and is undeniably the world’s most influential footwear designer”.
Kenneth Paul Block was an American fashion illustrator. He worked as an in-house artist for Fairchild Publications and was featured prominently in their magazines Women's Wear Daily and W. His personal clientele included fashion retailers including Bergdorf-Goodman, Lord &Taylor, and Bonwit-Teller. His long-term life partner was fellow artist and fabric designer Morton Ribyat.
- Corporate body
In 1986 Bloomingdale's opened two small stores at JFK Airport in New York called Bloomie's Express.
- Corporate body
- 1861 (date of establishment)
Bloomingdale's began in 1861 as a hoop-skirt shop run by brothers Joseph and Lyman G. Bloomingdale on the lower east side of Manhattan. Eventually moving to its current location at 59th and Lexington in 1886, the store is now an upscale department store featuring men and women's ready-to-wear, furnishings, accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics. This interview takes place at the beginning of a period of drastic change at Bloomingdale's, including extremely high employee turnover, changes in ownership, and the effects of an overall retail slump at the end of the 1980s. After over a decade of major promotional activity at Bloomingdale's, the financial year and a half after this interview, in May 1988, Campeau Corporation bought Bloomingdale's parent company, Federated Department Stores in a highly publicized and notorious leverage buyout. It is interesting to note that at the time of this interview, Bloomingdale's President Marvin S. Traub was soon to receive the "Person Who Makes the Difference" award from FIT, even as the department store was heading into serious financial troubles. Saks Fifth Avenue found itself in a similar position when it received the same award four years later amidst its highly publicized sale.
- Corporate body
- 1951 (date of establishment)
The Board of Trustees of the Fashion Institute of Technology establishes policies governing the college. Subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, the Board appoints the college president, approves curricula, approves budgets, establishes tuition and fees within legal limits, and approves sites and facilities. It is responsible for the care, custody, control and management of the college’s physical facilities. The Board sets policies and delegates to the president or her designees the responsibility for implementing them, including personnel policies; the creation of divisions, departments, and administrative and academic positions; rules governing student conduct; the use of college facilities by outside organizations; the admission of students; and the preparation of the budget. The Board also has such other powers and duties as provided by New York law or prescribed by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
By State law, there are sixteen trustees: eight are appointed by the college’s local sponsor, through the New York City Panel for Educational Policy; seven are appointed by the governor, but must reside in New York City; and one, a student at the college, is elected by the other students of the college. Other than the student trustee, all trustees appointed after August 5, 2003 have seven-year terms; trustees appointed previously had nine-year terms. The student trustee serves for one year but has the same parliamentary privileges, including the right to vote, as the other members. The Board selects its chair from among its voting membership.The first Board of Trustees meeting was held on 1951 November 5 where all oaths of office were administered by Justice Charles D. Breitel, Justice of the Supreme Court, First Judicial District. Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie served as the first and temporary chair and then Max Meyer served as the first elected chair. Also elected was Mortimer Ritter as President of the College. The first Secretary of the Board was Shirley Goodman. Minutes are produced as a result of each meeting. In the early days of the College, the Board met much more frequently, as often as once a month whereas now, the Board meets four (4) times per year.