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Location: Bi-coastal, United States

Working in the trenches of the fashion industry for years.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tag you're it - Part 2

According to Mary Beth at The Stitchery who tagged me today:

Here’s how it works:

1. someone tags you,
2. you post five things about yourself that you haven’t already mentioned on your blog,
3. you tag 5 people you’d like to know more about

If you already knew that I grew up in Hawaii, I need to come up with 3 more things to tell you about.

I first saw this image of Gloria Swanson when I was about 8 years old in a wonderful coffee table compendium of the old Vanity Fair photos and articles. I am sure that it seared my brain with the ultimate Diva image. I loved that book! It was like my bible. I taught myself how to draw from comic books. Besides Archie and Jughead, there was a Dobie Gillis comic, based on the popular TV show of the time. And Patsy and Hedy, a fashion comic that encouraged readers to submit drawings for publication. I drew many many things, but never submitted them.

My mother's cousin was Tina Leser, a well known designer of mid 20th century America. She is one of the designers credited with inventing 'playclothes' and American sportswear. She is often mentionned in the same breath with Claire McCardell, and won the Coty Award in 1945, the same year that Adrian won. I suppose knowing this must have had some influence on me, but I never met her until my mother took me to see one of Tina's fashion shows at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki when I was 15 or 16 years old. (When I was in high school I thought I was going to get my PhD in historical linguistics, I had no aspirations to be a fashion designer.)Tina was pretty busy, and fairly distant - I think she barely knew my mother - they hadn't seen each other since they were 9 or 10 years old.

My second time around moving to New York, after working in fashion on the West Coast and Hawaii, I worked with Tina for about 5 or 6 months. She had moved from 550 7th Ave (THE designer building with Ralph and Calvin, el al) around the corner to 40th St. It was the beginning of her last hurrah. Though she was kind enough to me, she was a 'screamer' - later when I told my button supplier, an old timer, that I had worked with her, he rolled his eyes heavenward. I apparently wasn't the only one to suffer. Her half-brother told me that he hadn't even lasted that long working with her.
"Never work with your family" he said, words I have lived by ever since.

OK, I will have to think about the last item of the 5. Meanwhile, whom shall I tag? I will have to think on that as well.


Blogger Aseity670 said...

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1:23 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What an beautiful photograph. Thanks for sharing your story. I have never had the pleasure to work for a screamer...

6:39 AM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

It's interesting that Tina Lesser became known as a swimwear designer, a gig you also developed

10:31 AM  
Blogger Rosemary aka fabricfan said...

Loved that phhoto. It is very inspiring to me.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I worked for one, she also did some shoving and she outweighed me by a good 50 lbs.
She used to call me late in the day and cuss me out for leaving work early(I never did). She didn't know then that I could program my phone to record the time calls came into my voice mail. She really made those calls before she left the next morning so I would get it when I came in. A lot of what we do at work has nothing to do with the work.

8:37 AM  

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