Halston was thrown into the limelight when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Soon Halston expanded into women’s wear, creating both couture and ready-to-wear fashion catering to the fashionable and elite jet set. Halston also accepted the honor of designing the 1976 US Olympic team uniforms, redesigned Braniff Airlines’ uniforms in 1977, and created uniforms for the New York Police Department and the Girl Scouts in 1978.
Halston was innovative, using slinky knit material and ultrasuedes, and introducing a halter dress design that elongated a wearer’s silhouette. He pioneered the sensual and soft draped looks associated with disco and his beloved Studio 54.
Blass was well known for his couture take on sportswear. He would make traditional cuts in luxurious fabrics, with incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail. His opulent sportswear was unparalleled, and in pairing a cashmere cardigan with a silk gown, he found new innovative ways to mix it into his formalwear.
Blass achieved internationally recognition when he joined the American team of designers -consisting of Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, and Anne Klein with Donna Karan- that was to face off against the French team of designers -Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, and Hubert de Givenchy- in the infamous “Battle of Versailles” fashion show.
Cashin spearheaded the American casual sportswear look. Her practical, attractive clothing appealed to the increasingly independent and informal post-war woman. Cashin’s designs championed the layering of several lighter garments rather that using a single heavy coat, a reflection of the progressively flexible schedules of American women.
Cashin was Coach’s first designer, and worked with the company until 1974. Her innovative designs and use of leather, mohair, and hardware, as well as her playful, colorful handbag lining, set Coach up for design victory.
In 1967, Time magazine declared Gernreich to be “the most way-out, far-ahead designer in the U.S.,” and with his innovative, experimental, adventurous designs, it would be difficult to deny that Rudi Gernreich was a designer ahead of his time.
Although high-end, Gernreich created works that were youthful and fun, showcasing his strong understanding of shape, color, form, and the human body. His designs sought to liberate the female form from structured fashion, and to challenge reigning beauty and gender norms.
Givenchy opened his couture house in 1952. La Maison Givenchy launched with a collection of separates including the iconic Bettina Blouse. The Bettina and the rest of the collection was a roaring success, earning Givenchy 7 million francs by the end of the day. Givenchy produced fine couture, but in 1954 became the first couturier to present a ready - to - wear line.
Givenchy went agains the “New Look” wave and released his “sack” dress in 1957. The sack dress was provocative, with a loose, circular silhouette that hid the torso, but with high hemlines that showed off the legs. Givenchy’s loose silhouette was a clear predecessor to the shift, trapeze, and babydoll dresses of the 1960s.
Martin Margiela is a notoriously private person. There are very few photos of him on the web. Margiela waits backstage behind the catwalk and moves covertly through events thrown to honor him. Margiela only responds to faxes.
He is a true artist, there are few designers that can provoke passionate, disparate reactions from fans and critics. The counter culture attitude with which Margiela challenges the fashion industry, cherishes anonymity and shuns fame is one that has inversely created a mythology elevating his celebrity.
Dior continued to receive offers from fashion houses, however he wanted to build his own empire. The success of Balmain’s 1945 launch emboldened Dior, and in December of 1946, he quietly opened his fashion house. For two months Dior worked on his first collection. On February 12th he stunned the world with his “New Look.” The collection was a fresh return to opulence, with sculpted lines, full skirts, wasp waists, and yards and yards of silk.