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Sophie Gimbel, more well-known as Sophie of Saks, was born Sophie Hass in 1898 in Houston, Texas. She attended Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. In the late 1920s she moved to New York and was hired as a stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue. Shortly thereafter she was asked to re-vamp their foundering custom-order Salon Moderne. She was successful in this endeavor, as well as with her line of ready-to-wear, Sophie Originals. In 1931 she married Adam Gimbel who was president of Saks Fifth Avenue from 1926 to 1969. Sophie did not sketch her designs, rather, she used sketchers to assist with visualizing her ideas, or purchased designs from other designers and modified them. She enjoyed significant success, particularly in the 1940s, and her designs were noted for their elegance. Her clientele included Claudette Colbert, Rose Kennedy, and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson who wore a red coat and dress designed by Sophie Gimbel to her husband's inauguration in 1965. Sophie Gimbel retired in 1969 and passed away in 1981.
Simonetta Visconti (1922-2011), also known as Duchess Simonetta Colonna di Cesaro Visconti, founded her fashion house in 1946. In 1952, Simonetta married Italian fashion designer, Alberto Fabiani, with whom she later combined houses with in order to form the House of Simonetta et Fabiani in 1962. Although this house was short-lived, Simonetta became internationally known for her elegant and youthful designs. Simonetta retired from fashion design after Simonetta et Fabiani closed in 1973.
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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.
"Antonio Lopez was born in 1943, in Utuado, Puerto Rico. He was the son of a couturier, and moved to New York at the age of eight. He studied at the High School of Industrial Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
In the early 60's, he worked as a sketch artist on 7th Avenue, until in 1964, he met the designer Charles James, who was to be an enormous influence on him. Antonio worked with James, drawing all the designer's clothes, for a number of years.
With the advent of fashion photography, Vogue magazine used lesser and lesser of the illustrator's art, with the exception only of Antonio, who was almost the only artist to be found in Vogue after 1963, because of the stylistic quality and great verve of his drawings.
In 1969, while on a working trip for Elle Magazine in Paris, he met fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who encouraged him to set up a studio in Paris. He did so and became the leader of a group of celebrities.
He established himself as the foremost fashion illustrator on both sides of the Atlantic. It can be said of Antonio that his work helped create a return to the almost forgotten art of fashion illustration in magazines. He exerted a strong influence on many younger artists.
He was the only artist commissioned by fashion magazines with any regularity during the lean years of the 60's and 70's. His was a style completely in tune with the rebellious clothes and free attitudes of the 60's. From the moment they were first published in Women's Wear Daily and the New York Times, Antonio's drawings were much in demand.
He was sought out by designers, stores and magazines around the world. For over 20 years, Antonio remained the most consistently influential fashion illustrator and his career bridges the gap between the 60's and the renaissance of fashion illustration in the 80's.
He died in 1987 at the age of 44."
George Barbier was one of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century. Born in Nantes, France October 10, 1882, he was a student of J.P. Laurens at the Beaux-Arts and exhibited at the Salon des Humoristes in 1910 under the name of Edouard William. The following year he began working at the gallery of Boutet de Monvel. From 1912 to his death he regularly figured into Salon des Artistes Décorateurs and was the recipient of many prizes. For the next 20 years Barbier led a group from the École des Beaux Arts whom Vogue nicknamed "The Knights of the Bracelet"—a tribute to their fashionable and flamboyant mannerisms and style of dress. Included in this élite circle were Paul Iribe, Georges Lepape, Charles Martin, and his cousins Bernard Boutet de Monvel and Pierre Brissaud. He contributed to Gazette du Bon Ton, le Jardin des Dames et des Modes, Modes et Manières d'Aujourd'hui, Les Feuillets d'Art, Fémina, Vogue, and Comœdia Illustré. His career also included jewelry, glass, and wallpaper designs. Through the Max Weldy Studios he created a number of décors and costumes for the Folies Bergère and other music halls. He is credited with the costume for Rudolph Valentino in the movie Monsieur Beaucaire. In the mid 1920s he worked with Erté to design sets and costumes. In 1929 he wrote the introduction for Erté's acclaimed exhibition and achieved mainstream popularity through regular appearances in L'Illustration magazine. Barbier was also one of many artists who made a living illustrating limited "editions de luxe," intended to be collectors’ items due to their rarity and high standards of printing. Eagerly collected In France in the teens and twenties these classics and contemporary works were illustrated by leading artists of the day and often bound in lavish, specially designed bindings. Artists such as Guy Arnoux, George Barbier, Leon Benigni, Benito, Brunelleschi, Georges Lepape, Charles Martin, and Andre Marty found a lucrative demand for contributions which brought a considerable amount of prestige. The first book of this kind done by Barbier, in 1913, was an album of drawings of Nijinsky, the dancer, done in his various roles in the Ballets Russes. 1914 saw a similar album of Karsavina. Done mostly in black and white, it is in these that the similarity to Beardsley's style is most evident. After these albums, Barbier seemed to pull away from this style, using more color and less outlining to make his graphic statements. Barbier died in 1932 at the very pinnacle of his success.
One of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century, he was also a designer of theater and ballet costumes, a journalist and writer.
Barbier was born in Nantes, France and moved to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. There he studied alongside many of the fellow artists and illustrators later dubbed "The Knights of the Bracelet," by Vogue, which included Paul Iribe, Georges Lepape, and Charles Martin. Over the course of his career, he contributed to many popular journals of the day including Gazette du bon ton, Les feuillets d'art, Fémina, Vogue, and Comoedia Illustré. He created set designs and costumes for the Folies Bergère, and worked as an illustrator for artists’ books and “editions de luxe.” Very little documentation of Barbier’s personal life survives today; he died at the pinnacle of his success at the age of 50.
Hattie Carnegie was born Henrietta Kanengeiser in Vienna, Austria on March 15, 1889. In 1900, she immigrated with her family to the United States where they settled in New York City. She later changed her last name to Carnegie because of its association with wealth. In 1909, she bought a store with Rose Roth called "Carnegie Ladies' Hatter". Carnegie studied Parisian fashion styles which she adapted for her customers. In 1919, she bought Rose Roth's share of the business and Hattie Carnegie, Inc. was born. In 1928, Carnegie introduced her first ready-to-wear line designed by Norman Norell. By 1940, Carnegie had more than 1,000 employees producing her ready-to-wear lines, but her custom shop was the foundation of her reputation. During WWII, Carnegie became a leader in the American Fashion scene where she began to rely on American fabric designers. In the 1950's she continued to make chic and conventional dresses and suits, along with ballgowns that were adapted from French couturiers. she was also known for using a particular shade of blue in many of her garments that became known as "Carnegie blue". Carnegie died in 1956, but her business stayed open under the direction of her husband, John Zanft and employee, Larry Joseph until 1976.