Fashion and Beauty

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Adele Margolis, 1909 - 2009

She continued to dream of, and work for, a world at peace. Before the 2004 election, horrified at America's attack on Iraq, she wrote a long, impassioned letter about the importance of the election, photocopied it, and mailed it to friends who were doubtful their vote would matter.

Polly Spiegel Cowan, 1913 - 1976

The legacy that my mother left went beyond the immediate family. She was part of a great movement that profoundly changed American society. On a personal level, the legacy of her commitment inspired the succeeding generations of our own family. We, her children and grandchildren, remain committed to the beliefs of prophetic Judaism: to help the poor and the needy and to seek justice.

Shirley Kramer Broner, 1922 - 2006

A clipping in her memoirs sums up her philosophy: 'Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body … but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a ride!"'

The Spiritual and the Material: Wealth and Stereotypes on the High Holidays

Leora Jackson

I just came home from a trip to my local suburban mall with two friends from elementary school. The mall is looking good – the walls are an upscale beige accented with stained wood, and new stores like Coach and BCBG emphasize that those who shop here must have ample money to spend. The mall is clearly marked as Jewish, too, with shoppers wearing long skirts, kippas, or less modest clothing adorned with Jewish symbols and summer camp logos.

Teffilin Barbie and Burqa Barbie: What does it mean to dress dolls?

Alma Heckman

Barbie was created in 1959 by Jewish business woman Ruth Handler. She was an Amazonian creation: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted American beauty. She loved to drive pink convertibles; her wardrobe and shape-shifting abilities were astonishing. By the 80s, she was highly multicultural and had an endless variety of career paths open to her, from model to mad professor. Nothing is off-limits to ever trail-blazing Barbie, not even tefillin or a burqa.

Androgyny: progressive or exclusionary?

Leah Berkenwald

The New York Times recently identified androgyny as the "it" fashion trend.  It seemed to begin with "skinny jeans" -- skin-tight pants quickly adopted by fashion-forward men and women.  Unisex hoodies, coats, footwear, t-shirts, and hairstyles were soon to follow.  While women dressing in masculine clothing is old hat (the tomboy), the idea of heterosexual men dressing in feminine clothing is new, edgy, and raising eyebrows as well as questions about traditional gender norms.  

What is Jewish hair?

Leah Berkenwald

The buzz about Good Hair, Chris Rock's new documentary about Black hair, has got me thinking about "Jewish hair": what it is, what it means, and where I -- a straight-haired woman -- fit into this curious piece of Jewish identity. 

 

Birth of fashion designer Anne Klein

August 3, 1923

Born in Brooklyn on August 3, 1923, Hannah Golofski would grow up to become noted fashion designer Anne Klein.

Estelle Joan Sommers takes over Capezio

June 1, 1964

Estelle Sommers got her start in the dance world when she transformed her first husband's Cincinnati piece-goods retail store into a dancewe

"New York Times" profiles entrepreneur Lillian Vernon

April 26, 1978

In a New York Times profile published on April 26, 1978, Lillian Vernon was described as "the first lady of mail order catalogues," a designation she had earned through more than two decades of entrepreneurship and steady growth of her eponymous business.

Judith Leiber handbags featured in First Lady museum exhibit

March 22, 2005

Four handbags created for U.S. first ladies by Judith Leiber, luxury handbag doyenne, were featured in a New-York Historical Society exhibit that opened on March 22, 2005.

Birth of Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform

January 9, 1886

Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform, the first company to make modern bras, was born on January 9, 1886 in Tsarist Russia.

Estelle Joan Sommers

Sommers made her career in retail dancewear as a designer, business executive, and owner of various ventures. Since taking ballet and tap classes as a child, dance had been her passion, professionally and socially.

Ida Cohen Rosenthal

Ida Cohen Rosenthal not only created the modern bra, she also helped found Maidenform, Inc., and make it the most successful bra manufacturer in the world.

Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein built a global beauty empire by selling face cream to Depression–era housewives and teaching makeup tricks to film vamp Theda Bara.

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

Sophia Sonia Rosenberg was the creator and owner of Sonia Gowns Inc, an elegant dress company. After immigrating to New York in 1908, she worked for various dress companies and entered a business alliance with Gloria Vanderbilt in 1935.

Lucie Porges

Lucie Porges brought a combination of elegance and a relaxed sensibility to her long and fruitful collaboration with top fashion designer Pauline Trigère. As she continued to design, Porges also imparted 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 during her tenure as a fashion legend. Parnis was equally famed for her New York salons that welcomed literary and political giants and for her fashion designs that adorned first ladies.

Carrie Marcus Neiman

A born saleswoman, Carrie Marcus Neiman made her family’s department stores synonymous with high-end retail fashion. Dallas’s legendary Neiman Marcus specialty store owes its style, its personal brand of service, and its first cache of merchandise to Neiman, the fashion authority who helped launch a retailing concept.

Sally Milgrim

In the early twentieth century, 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. Adorning First Ladies and movie stars alike, Milgrim’s designs are remembered to this day.

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

Until her death, Mary Ann Cohen Magnin took an active interest in the department store she founded, I. Magnin and Company, an exclusive chain that specialized in women’s clothing. Energetic, stubborn, and with an outstanding intuition for business, Magnin rose to stunning success at the turn of the twentieth century.

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. D’Ora was the first woman accepted by the Association of Austrian photographers, and one of the first photographers to focus on modern dance and fashion. She paved the way for many Jewish female photographers to find success. 

Judith Leiber

Judith Leiber carved a unique place for herself in the world of fashion as the designer of some of the most inventive and sought-after handbags in the world. After fleeing the Nazi occupation of Hungary, Leiber worked for various handbag manufacturers in America before starting her own company in 1963.

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