VMSD - March 2013 - (Page 10)

TG THE GOODS MI C H AEL RO S S , N E W YOR K Edited by Steve Kaufman Saks Windows Honor Sophie Gimbel As it occasionally has done in the past, Saks Fifth Avenue created a window campaign not devoted to fashion merchandise. Instead, in early January, the flagship’s windows along Fifth Avenue in New York – its “conduits to the world,” says senior vp Harry Cunningham – told a story about the company’s illustrious history as they celebrated Sophie Gimbel. As before, with a window devoted to the AIDS quilt and one marking the anniversary of 9/11, Saks presented these windows as “a gift to New York,” according to Matt Read, vp, visual merchandising. Gimbel was head custom designer at Saks for almost 40 years, from 1929 until the 1960s, leading the retailer’s exclusive Salon Moderne. When she took over the largely unsuccessful hall, she generated interest by designing costumes for Broadway shows. Soon, she was known for her contemporary and feminine styles, and the salon thrived. Helen O’Hagan, a colleague and former Saks vp, said, “Sophie brought a feminine look for the fitted woman, both for day and evening clothes.” In a time noted for detail, elegantly constructed clothes and a glamorous lifestyle, Gimbel’s philosophy was clear, “The American woman spends a lifetime keeping her figure. She deprives herself of many luscious tidbits to whittle down her waist10 MARCH 2013 | vmsd.com line. Why should she sacrifice it?” This was especially true after World War II, though Gimbel opposed the “New Look” – simple elegance and expensive fabrics, but practical and easy to wear. She’s credited with introducing culottes to the American market. In 1947, Gimbel became the first American designer to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. (Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli had preceded her in 1934.) A true champion of American fashion, she dressed entertainers, public figures, ladies and politicians’ wives. In 1965, she designed the red coat and dress Lady Bird Johnson wore to her husband’s inauguration. Saks installed the windows in collaboration with the Parsons School of Design, which is holding an exhibition of its collection of her works called “Sophie Gimbel, Fashioning American Couture” at its Aronson Galleries. Saks’ visual merchandising team worked with the gallery’s curatorial staff to recreate the feeling of the Salon Moderne – a walk through fashion history for casual Fifth Avenue strollers and aspiring fashion designers. Students in Parsons’ couture techniques class interpreted the garments in their own work. So once again, the style of Sophie Gimbel appears on the streets of New York, and not a moment too soon. ­­­—Eric Feigenbaum http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - March 2013

VMSD - March 2013
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Sushi Stunner
Jump Start
American Dream
Balance Beam
Pills Plus
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

VMSD - March 2013

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