Collection SC.239 - Eric de Juan sketch collection, 1927-1989

Original Sketch by Eric De Juan for Josephine Baker's Stage Costumes Original Sketch by Eric De Juan for Josephine Baker's Stage Costumes Original Sketch by Eric De Juan for Josephine Baker's Stage Costumes Original Sketch by Eric De Juan for Josephine Baker's Stage Costumes

Identity area

Reference code

US NNFIT SC.239

Title

Eric de Juan sketch collection, 1927-1989

Date(s)

  • 1927-1989 (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

24 linear feet, 2523 sketches

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Primary sources are conflicting as to whether half-French, half-Cuban Eric de Juan was born in Cuba or France, but ancedotal evidence suggests he spent time as a youth in both, being educated mainly in France. At the age of 15 he dismayed his parents with the proclamation that he intended to become a couturier. As the son of a wealthy family, he was expected to take over his father's successful import business. His grandmother— "a great French lady,"—felt differently, and backed her grandson's dream whole-heartedly, converting a portion of her sumptuous home into a workroom and salon for him. Perhaps fleeing from the Nazi occupation of Paris, sometime around 1939, de Juan established a couture house in Cuba, where he became known as the "Mainbocher of Havana." Here he says, "I was very spoiled there...It got so that I could choose my own customers," from the the millionaire glitterati who flocked to the popular resort destination during the 1940s and 1950s. After being jailed six times by Castro for his "association with wealthy clients," and having his business and property seized by the state—his home was converted into the Soviet Embassay—de Juan fled to the US in February of 1964. de Juan's first job stateside was with the noted 7th Avenue coat and suit manufacturer Ben Zuckerman. Three years later, de Juan would replace Leslie Morris as the inhouse designer for the Bergdorf Goodman custom salon; perhaps his friendship as a youth in Cuba with Nena Menach, who was to become Mrs. Andrew Goodman facilitated this opportunity. This arrangement was not to last long; the custom salon would close its doors for financial reasons in May of 1969. de Juan remained on at Bergdorf's for a short period, designing for the store's Plaza Collection. By the mid 1970s, de Juan had left New York for sunnier shores, setting up a custom shop on Seaview Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. Socialites and heiresses would rely upon him for day and evening looks as well as the wedding gowns of their daughters until at least the mid-1980s. The full extent of de Juan's operations in Florida is unclear, but at this point he had been working in the fashion industry for at least five decades. Information regarding date of death cannot be found.

Archival history

This collection was a gift from Suzanne le Bienvenu to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

This collection was donated by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to The Library of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives on 2011511.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection consists of over 2500 sketches by designer Eric de Juan, from 1927 through 1989. The sketches include several done for Josephine Baker in 1949, as well as sketches from de Juan's two years spent as the in-house designer for the Bergdorf Goodman custom salon. Some sketches from the Bergdorf Goodman custom salon have swatches attached.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

collections series folder

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access is open to researchers by appointment at the Fashion Institute of Technology Library, Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives.

Conditions governing reproduction

The Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives does not own copyright for all material held in its physical custody. It is the researcher's obligation to abide by and satisfy copyright law (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#108) when copying or using materials (including digital materials) found in or made available from the department. When possible, the department will inform a researcher about the copyright status of material, the researcher's obligations with regard to such material, and, wherever possible, the owner or owners of the copyrights. Any and all reproduction of originals is at the archivist's discretion.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Rehoused 2014; portfolios disassembled

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The Library of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives, 27th St. at 7th Ave., NY, NY , USA, 10001

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

AAT; ANSI; DACS; DCMI; ISAD(G); ISO; LoC; NISO; etc

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Arrangement, description, and/or archival processing by April Calahan and Melissa Perlzweig, FIT, NY, NY, USA.

Accession area