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Fashion and Beauty

Nettie Rosenstein

Fashion designer Nettie Rosenstein was instrumental in the popularization of the “little black dress” in America. She observed the trend in French couture and used the power of the ready-to-wear industry to popularize the look in America.

Sophie Sonia Rosenberg

Sophie Rosenberg’s company came to be Sonia Gowns Inc. in 1935, when she entered into the business with Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Though her business venture with the Vanderbilt family was brief, she never left the dress design business, and within a few short years, in 1944, she went into business once again, retaining the name of Sonia Gowns Inc.

Lucie Porges

Lucie Porges continued to design, while also imparting her immense knowledge in the Fashion Department of the New School for Social Research.

Mollie Parnis

Mollie Parnis’s wit and fashion savvy made her clothing designs a must among many first ladies during her tenure as fashion legend.

Carrie Marcus Neiman

Dallas’s legendary Neiman Marcus specialty store owes its style, its personal brand of service, and its first cache of merchandise to Carrie Marcus Neiman, the fashion authority who helped launch a retailing concept.

Sally Milgrim

At a time when well-to-do women dressed three or four times a day to carry on their daily social lives, Sally Milgrim designed for any and all of these occasions, always incorporating luxury and detailing into the richness of her designs.

Lane Bryant Malsin

Lane Bryant Malsin was a fashion entrepreneur and pioneer in the best sense of the word, long before Donna Karan or Liz Claiborne. She pioneered niche marketing and mail-order merchandising, as well as innovative work practices and progressive advertising.

Mary Ann Cohen Magnin

Energetic, stubborn, with an outstanding intuition for business—this was Mary Ann Cohen Magnin, the founder of I. Magnin and Company. Until her death at age ninety-four, Magnin took an active interest in the stores, which specialize in exclusive women’s clothes. Mary Ann Cohen, the daughter of a rabbi, was born in Scheveningen, Holland, in 1850. She immigrated with her parents to London, England. On October 8, 1865, in the Great Synagogue in London, she married Isaac Magnin, born in Assen, Holland, in 1842, a carver and gilder. They had eight children: Samuel, Henrietta, Joseph, Emanuel John, Victor, Lucille, Flora, and Grover.

Madame d'Ora

Madame d’Ora’s vibrant portraits of twentieth-century artists and intellectuals remain important testaments to European cultural life at the turn of the century and beyond. Not only did her high quality photographs of well-known figures such as Josephine Baker (1906–1975), Karl Kraus (1874–1936), Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) and Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) receive international acclaim, but her studios in Vienna and Paris also became fashionable meeting places for the cultural and intellectual elite. D’Ora’s achievements also paved the way for other European women’s careers in photography, an area in which many Jewish women in particular found success.

Judith Leiber

“Hitler put me in the handbag business,” Judith Leiber recalled in Enid Nemy’s book, Judith Leiber: The Artful Handbag. She was born Judith Peto in Budapest, Hungary, on January 11, 1921. Her well-to-do parents, Emil and Helen Peto, originally planned that she make a fortune in skin creams. Instead, she enrolled in the Hungarian Handbag Guild as its first woman member. Judith, her older sister Eva, and her mother survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest by staying in a building designated for Jews and then in a house set aside for Swiss citizens. Her father, an Austro-Hungarian who managed the grain department of a bank, obtained a pass for himself and forged the words “and family,” using the same typewriter used to issue the pass.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fashion and Beauty." (Viewed on December 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/fashion-and-beauty>.

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