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Estelle Joan Sommers

Estelle Joan Sommers channeled her passion for dance into her innovative designs for Capezio’s dance and exercise clothing and her savvy management of its businesses. Sommers took night courses in business and law before marrying Julian Loshin in 1942 and transforming his piece-goods store into a dance goods store, selling her designs directly to dance studios. She divorced Loshin in 1962 and met and married her second husband, Ben Sommers, known as “Mr. Capezio,” later that year. At Capezio, she owned and managed a number of stores as well as creating designs for new clothing. Her innovations included introducing the new fabric Antron-Lycra/Spandex to her designs and marketing her new bodywear not just to dancers, but to the growing number of fitness enthusiasts. In 1970, she became vice president of the company. She also supported a number of dance organizations and gave generously to various causes, but was careful never to endorse one dance company over another. In 1979, she became the US chair of the International Committee for the Dance Library of Israel and was instrumental in establishing it as one of the most important dance collections in the world.

Estelle Joan Sommers
Full image

Designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Estelle Joan Sommers (1919–1994).

Photo from the Dance Library of Israel.

Date of Birth
October 12, 1919
Place of Birth
Baltimore, Maryland
Date of Death
March 21, 1994

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Estelle Joan Sommers." (Viewed on November 16, 2018) <>.


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