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Designer Index

An index of some of the many designers featured on Dressing Vintage, including a brief history and link to each designer's collection.

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Adele Simpson

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December 8 - August 23, 1995

Adele Simpson was an American fashion designer who studied design at Pratt and was known for re-interpreting French couture fashions into ready to wear clothing for American women. She continued to design well into her 70's!

Adolfo Sardinia

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February 15, 1933 

Adolfo Sardina once worked for both Chanel and Balenciaga.  From his beginnings as a hat designer, to creating Chanel inspired suits and evening gowns, he went on to eventually design leather goods, scarves, hats, luggage, perfume, and men's clothing and accessories. Adolfo hats are some of our favorites here at Dressing Vintage!

Anne Fogarty

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February 2, 1919 - January 15, 1980

Award winning designer Anne Fogarty was known for her versatile, easy to wear clothing.  She wrote a book in 1959  called "Wife Dressing:  The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife." A somewhat shocking title to our modern idea of fashion! In spite of the opressive title, Anne Fogarty was an independent business woman who defied trends and designed according to the direction of her own asthetics. She weighed only 100 pounds and was married 3 times.

 

Anne Klein

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1923 - March 19, 1974

Anne Klein was the co-founder and designer for "Junior Sophisticates" which was one of the first companies to introduce more sophisticated clothing to the junior fashion market. She also had her own label, Anne Klein and Co. which produced women's sportswear.  She is one of the important designers who, with Claire McCardell, Clare Potter, Tina Leser, and Vera Maxwell, are responsible for introducing sportwear for women.

 

 

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Belinda Bellville 

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Bellville et Cie was opened by designer Belinda Bellville in 1953.  When she became a mother and didn't have enough time to run the business solo, she partnered with David Sassoon and the shop later became known as Bellville Sassoon.  They were part of London's huge mod fashion movement in the 1960's and were also well known for their custom made evening dresses.  Belinda has designed for the royal family including Diana, the Princess of Wales.

 

Bill Atkinson

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Award winning mid century fashion designer Bill Atkinson was actually an architect by trade and started out in fashion almost by accident! He made a square dancing outfit for his wife out of bandannas that got a lot of attention so he started to try his hand at designing other pieces.  He then went on to make women's sportswear through Glen manufacturing company under the Bill Atkinson Glen of Michigan label. 

 

Bill Blass

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June 22, 1922 – June 12, 2002

Designer Bill Blass started his fashion career in the 1940s.  He designed both men's, women's and even children's clothing & accessories and worked in fashion for over 50 years. He, along with Emilio Pucci, Cartier and Givenchy, also contributed to the design of Ford's Continental Mark series cars for 15 years. 

 

Bob Mackie

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March 24, 1940 --

Bob Mackie was discovered by the famous Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head in the 60s when he was working for Paramount Studios. He designed Las Vegas burlesque fashions, humorous ensembles for the Carol Burnett show, and perhaps is most famous for the elaborate costumes he created for Cher.He is called The Sultan of Sequins and the Rajah of Rhinestones because of the glitzy outfits he has created over the years.

 

Bonnie Cashin

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September 28, 1907 – February 3, 2000

Along with her contemporaries, Claire McCardell, Vera Maxwell, Clare Potter, and Anne Klein, Bonnie Cashin was one of the first fashion designers to introduce sportswear in her ready to wear line for American women.  She designed handbags for Coach and was one of the first designers to commonly use the "toggle" closure that she used on bags on her coats and capes as well. She thought of design as art and her pieces have architectural elements that make them unique and particularly interesting.

 

 

 

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Calvin Klein

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November 14, 1942 --

Calvin Klein was born in New York of Hungarian Jewish immigrant parents and though he attended FIT in New York, he never graduated.  He was once called the "new Yves Saint Laurent" and was known for creating clean, classic lines. He achieved phenomenal success with the launch of his jeans lined and the famous phrase "nothing comes between me and my Calvins" first made famous by Brooke Shields, who modeled the jeans. Calvin Klein was the first designer to receive the award for outstanding design in men's and women's wear from the CFDA award show.

 

Ceil Chapman

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1912 – July 13, 1979

The very talented designer Ceil Chapman had no formal design training, but is well respected for the incredible  mid century pieces she created. She was one of Marilyn Monroe's favorite fashion designers and she also made the wedding dress that Elizabeth Taylor wore in 1950 when she married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton. She was known, as was Adele Simpson, for taking the current Parisian couture fashion designs and re-interpreting them into cocktail dresses and evening gowns for American women. You can find many of her dresses in costume exhibitions in museums around the world, and at the Costume department of the Met.

 

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel

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August 19, 1883 – January 10, 1971

Chanel is perhaps best known for freeing women from the constraints of Victorian fashions.  She was inspired by the world around her including Sailors and Equestrian clothing and was a brilliant self promoter and marketer. She single handedly changed fashion forever, replacing hobble skirts and corsets with sophisticated, simple elegant clothing. She loved using simple shades of beige, black and white in her fashions and even decorated her famous apartment with those same colors.  She is credited with being the first designer to use jersey in clothing, which up until then had only been used in underwear.  Karl Lagerfield took over Chanel's couture line in 1983 and ready to wear in 1984.  Perhaps George Honyningen Huene, the famous fashion photographer said it best;

"In one way or another, every woman today is dressed by Chanel"


Chester Weinberg

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1930-1985

I have always been impressed with the design and quality of the Chester Weinberg pieces I have owned and sold throughout the years.  He isn't talked about as much as many of his contemporaries but his was an incredible designer. He studied design at Parsons and worked for other designers, including Herbert Sondheim and Teal-Traina before starting his own label in 1966. He was very focused on the actual fabrics he used and, like Madame Gres,  believed that the fabric was the most important thing to dictate the design of the piece itself. He won several awards including the "cotton" award for using cotton in 90 percent of his designs one season.  Weinberg eventually was the design director at Calvin Klein Jeans in the 1980s.

 

Christian Dior

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January 21,  1905 – October 23, 1957

Christian Dior opened his fashion house in 1946 and presented his first collection in 1947.  Pierre Cardin was his first pattern cutter! Though his first collection was officially called "Corolle" (which means "circle of flower petals" in English), the editor of Harper's Bazaar at the time, Carmel Snow, called it New Look and that is what it is still called today. According to the book Christian Dior by Richard Martin and Harold Koda from the Metropolitan Museum, Dior gave Charles James the credit for actually creating the "new look."His designs were a huge contrast to fashions made during the wartime rationing of fabric - since that was no longer a necessity, he used yards and yards of fabric to create the beautiful full skirts of his dresses. He liked for women to have cinched waists and flared skirts to emphasize their curves, like flowers. Christian Dior is credited with re-establishing Paris as a center of fashion after the war ended. Dior was the first fashion designer to make the cover of TIME magazine but sadly, had a relatively short career, only 11 years, before his death in 1957.

~" ... fashion comes from a dream ... "
Christian Dior

Here is a list of the designers at Christian Dior since Dior's death:

Yves Saint Laurent - 1957-1958

Marc Bohan - 1958-1989

Gianfranco Ferrè - 1989-1997

John Galliano - 1997-2011

Raf Simons  - 2012 to Present day

 

Claire McCardell

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1905 -- 1958

Claire McCardell, along with her contemporaries, Bonnie Cashin, Clare Potter, Vera Maxwell, Anne Klein, Adele Simpson, created clothing that suited the lifestyle of American women.  She was known for particular designs and fashion elements that influenced many designers after her.  She perhaps was most influenced by a year she spent in Paris as a student at Parson's when she disassembled dresses designed by Madeline Vionnete and familiarized herself with the construction of a bias cut garment.  She took the many design elements she learned about in France and translated them to wearable fashions for women in the US.  Some of her more important contributions include:

  • The "Monastic dress" -  a shift-like dress that is somewhat loose with a belt. u
  • The Popover dress A wrap dress which could be also be worn as a swimsuit cover-up or robe.
  • Diaper bathing suit - a swimsuit that wrapped up between the legs, and was tied with strings.
  • Streamlined wool bathing suits
  • Ballet slippers worn as everyday shoes
  • Transformed Trousers for women by adding pockets and pleats which were previously iin men's wear.
  • Sundresses and sportswear

We were fortunate to acquire an estate of clothing from a woman who knew Claire McCardell and have sold many of the dresses from that estate.  It was like having private access to a museum collection and fascinating to view the techniques she used first hand on so many pieces!  You can see many Claire McCardell garments in museums around the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume collection in New York.

 

André Courrèges

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1923

I have a theory - you can't paint a critically acclaimed abstract modern painting unless you have the skills to draw a good still life.  André Courrèges is a perfect illustration of that theory.  André Courrèges learned the basics of fashion design in the 1950s from one of the best - Cristobal Balenciaga. While at Balenciaga, he met his future wife Coqueline Barrière. After working for 10 years for Balenciaga, he and Coqueline borrowed money from the couturier and started their own company in 1961.  Having learned the best dressmaking skills from the master, he was able to then develop a line that presented his vision with artistry and impeccable tailoring. It was in June of 1965 when Courreges introduced his revolutionary collection to the fashion world.  It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before - cosmic fashions worn by toned, tanned models marching to a drum beat in white go go boots and streamlined clothing.  Both he and designer, Mary Quant, claim to have invented the mini skirt, but regardless, his fashiions were more revealing than any in the day. He was also a pioneer in terms of the high tech materials he used in his clothing. Courreges was definitely a modern designer who saw into the future of fashiion in a way that Frank Lloyd Wright did with architecture.

Coco Chanel famously said,  “This man is trying to destroy women by covering up their figures and turning them into little girls." Ironic coming from the designer who was credited with creating shapeless, free silhouettes for women previously constricted by corsets.

Though the fashion house has gone through many difficulties throughout the years, I am a huge fan and believe that Andres and Coqueline were true fashion visionaries who launched fashion into a phase of art and form that has never been duplicated.

 

 

 

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Diane von Furstenberg

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December 31, 1946

Diane Simone Michelle Halfin's mother gave birth to her only 18 months after she was liberated from Auschwitz concentration camp.  Learning that "fear is not an option" from her holocaust surviver mother, Diane went after her dreams with unbridled passion.  She went to college in Switzerland, worked as a fashion photographer's assistant in Paris, and worked as an apprentice to Angelo Ferretti in Italy.

She showed her first collection at New York Fashion week in 1974 and is best known for introducing the jersey wrap dress, and she was on the cover of Newsweek in 1976 featuring that design.

 

Donald Brooks

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January 9, 1928 – August 1, 2005

Award winning fashion designer Donald Brooks was a prominent mid century designer who the New York Times called one of the "3 B's of fashion" - with Bill Blass and designer Geoffrey Beene. Brooks studied at both FIT and Parsons and his first job was to decorate the windows for Lord & Taylor in New York. Dorothy Shaver, the famous president of Lord & Taylor was impressed by his work and hired him to design a line of clothing. He also designed costumes for broadway plays and was nominated for 3 Academy Awards for Costume design, and won The New York Drama Critics award, the Parson's medal of distinction, a Tony, an Emmy, and 3 Coty awards.

 

Donna Karan

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October 2, 1948

Donna Karan started out in fashion as an assistant designer with Anne Klein in the 1960s.  When Anne Klein died in 1974,  Donna Karan and Louis Dell'Ollio became head designers of the company. Karan left Anne Klein in 1984 and showed her first collection under her own label in 1985.  Her line was known for its "essentials" offering pieces that were easy to mix and match in a woman's wardrobe, making the ability to dress well almost effortless.  In 1988, she started a less expensive line for younger working women under the label DKNY.  She won the Coty award in 1977 and in 1982, she was inducted into the Coty hall of fame in the 1980s and was named Menswear designer of the year in 1992 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

But perhaps the thing that most impresses me about Donna Karan is her Urban Zen program. An amazing initiative that does everything from promoting ethical fashion-(a cause dear to my heart), helping local artisans develop their crafts, promoting economic development and integrative health therapy to providing programs that empower children.

 

 

 

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Geoffrey Beene

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August 30, 1927 – September 28, 2004

Geoffrey Beene (Samuel Albert Bozeman, Jr.) had a design career that lasted for more than 40 years. His classic, timeless designs have stood the test of time and are some of my personal favorites, especially those from the 1960's.  Beene was born in Louisiana and was encouraged to become a doctor like his faather and grandfather.  He started out on that path, studying medicine at Tulane, but after 3 years, left for Los Angeles.  While in LA, Beene studied fashion design at USC and worked at I Manin.  In 1947, he moved to New York City where he studied fashion for a while at the Traphagen School of Fashion.  Beene moved to Paris and attended the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and worked at the house of Molyneux.  When he returned to New York City and worked for the House of Harmay.  He left Harmay and went to work for Teal Traina before eventually creating his own design firm in 1963.  Beene was the first American designer to show a collection in Milan, Italy, and won 8 Coty awards in recognition of his talent.  In 1984, The Council of Fashion Designers of America created an annual awaard in hoonor of Geoffrey Beene called the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award, whose recipients have included James Galanos, Katharine Hepburn, Bill Blass, Georgio Armani, Nancy Reagan, Oscar De La Renta, Martha Graham, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino Garavani, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Stan Herman, Robert Lee Morris, Carolina Herrera, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang, and Tom Ford.

 

George Stavropoulos

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1920 -- 1990

His goal was to "make women feel pretty" and he usually did.  George Stavropoulos was born in Greece and opened a boutique in Athens in 1949.  He might be one of the only designers who actually said "No" when Christian Dior invited him to come to Paris to work with him.  He chose New York instead, and opened a shop on 57th Street.  His gowns were made entirely by hand and he also sold them through Martha's and Bonwit Teller.  He purposely ignored fashion trends, claiming that his gowns were timeless.  His favorite fabric was silk chiffon and his dresses often seemed to float on air.  He had private showings of his clothing in high end retailers and developed a prominent, often famous, loyal clientelle that bought from them for many years.  Maria Callas, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lady Bird Johnson, and Barbara Streisand are just a few of his more famous clients.

 

 

Gigi Young

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Gigi Young was a successful label that was owned by the same company that owned the brand Suzy Perette. Like Suzy Perette, this brand made some beautiful party dresses during the 1950's and 1960's and they are some of the most wearable vintage dresses you can buy!

 

 

 

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Hermès of Paris

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Established 1837

In 1837, Thierry Hermès first established Hermès as a harness shop in France, mainly serving European noblemen. In 1880, Hermes's son Charles Emile took over the shop and moved it to the location it still occupies today. From Saddles and bridles, they introduced the "Haut a Courroies bag" for riders to carry.  

Today, Hermes is mainly known for thier handbags, belts, silk scarves, menswear, and perfume.  They also produce ready to wear women's clothing.  The two most famous bags created by Hermes are the Kelly bag, named for actress Grace Kelly who became the Princess of Monacco, and the Birkin bag, named for actress and 1960's & 70's fashion style icon Jane Birkin.  Throughout the years, Hermes has had many talented designers including Lola Prusac, Jacques Delahaye, Catherine de Karolyi, Monsieur Levaillant, Nicole de Vesian, Eric Bergère, Claude Brouet, Daniel Deakin, Alex Bartaska, Tan Giudicelli, Marc Audibet, Mariot Chane, Martin Margiela, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christophe Lemaire, Véronique Nichanian, and Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski.

 

 

 

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