Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the Fashion Group International records consist of photographic prints of American and European designer collections for women. Most of the images are of clothing designed from the 1940s through the 1970s. Almost all of these images are in black and white. There are some contact prints, color slides and color photographs.
These records focus strongly on the development of American fashion, visually through photographic prints, and literally through speeches and transcripts, complemented by the FGI's newsletter. The FGI hosted and co-sponsored many of the events photographed, including business seminars, international fashion shows, couture shows, special events at cultural institutions, luncheons, and related meetings. With the latter, there are behind-the-scenes pictures of fashion shows, invited guests seated on the dais, and other similar images. There are also photographic prints of American and European fashion designers, fashion group members and prominent personalities, many of whom are or were members of the FGI.
The writings consist of speeches and transcripts from the Fashion Group luncheons and other events, which provide documentation of the economic, business and political trends of the times. The FGI newsletter complements this material by providing timely information through the 1990s. There are also some written records of conferences, meetings and special events sponsored by the FGI and other organizations. Material pertaining to the domestic and foreign regional groups provides excellent examples of the work initiated by members in their local areas. There is a small group of non-FGI material in the collection. This consists primarily of printed and near-print material. The most significant representative of the non-FGI material is the historic documentation of the fashion trade in the form of a newsletter provided by Littman's Service (1941-1960s).
The Fashion Group International records are arranged in sixteen series:
This series is arranged alphabetically by designer and consists of a sampling of black and white photographs of American designers' collections, haute couture and name labels, mainly from the 1940s through the 1970s. There are a few contemporary color prints and contact sheets. Many of the models were photographed backstage before walking down the runway at fashion shows. While this series focuses primarily on clothing from the past decades, contemporary designers are also represented. Designers, haute couture and name labels represented in the series include: Adrian, John Anthony, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, Stephen Burrows, Oleg Cassini, Liz Claiborne, Perry Ellis, Anne Fogarty, Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston, Cathy Hardwick, Carolina Herrara, Betsey Johnson, Norma Kamali, Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Mary McFadden, Bob Mackie, Mollie Parnis, Oscar de la Renta, Jo Copeland for Pattullo, Zandra Rhodes, Fernando Sanchez, Willi Smith and John Weitz. Major mass marketed companies are also represented such as Bobbie Brooks, David Crystal, Evan Picone, Koret of California, Pendleton, R & K, Abe Schrader, Jerry Silverman, Ellen Tracy and White Stag.
This series consists of four subseries: (a) British Design Collections (b) International Design Collections (c) French Design Collections and (d) Italian Design Collections. Each subseries is alphabetically arranged. The series spans the 1940s through the 1970s. Although the scope of designers represented here is not as broad as that represented in the American Designer series, the black and white prints which exclusively comprise this series include images of the creations of many outstanding European designers, and haute couture and name labels from western Europe including: Burberrys, Norman Hartnell, Jean Muir, Elio Bernhanyer, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, Yves St. Laurent, Armani, Carosa, Pucci, Simonetta & Fabiani, Valentino and Versace.
The term "Fashion Photographic Prints" is used as a catchall phrase for a variety of black and white fashion photographic prints, 1950-1980s, related to the following subjects: Accessories, American fashion miscellany, children's wear, cosmetics, furs, home furnishings, intimate apparel, and menswear. There are three subjects that are strongly represented in this section: accessories, children's clothing and intimate apparel. "Accessories, 1954-1964," consists of black and white photographic prints of hats, handbags, scarves, and similar items taken at accessories shows. The designers represented include Doro, Mr. John, Chanda, and Irene of New York. Hair designers are occasionally included, such as Pierre Monier of Elizabeth Arden, and Kenneth of Lily Dache. Clothing designers are sometimes included such as dress designer Galanos. The children's clothing series, 1951-1980s, documents three decades of fashion modeled by children during fashion shows, with other pictures taken backstage. The intimate apparel series, 1957-1978, represents two decades of loungewear and intimates.
This is the only photographic series in the collection that is arranged by the fashion show seasons. Only three seasons are represented: Fall-Winter 1974, Spring-Summer 1974, and fall 1974. American and European designers and name labels are included, such as: Geoffrey Beene's Beene Bag Group, Cole of California, Marshall Lester of London, Ferragamo, Oscar II, Molly Parnis, and Pauline Trigere. Saks Fifth Avenue publicity prints of fashions from its department store include images of Robert Goldworm's Goldworm Collection and the Nicholas & Alexandra Collection designed by Adolfo, and Revillon furs. Among the Saks Fifth Avenue departments represented are the Active Sportswear Shop, Fake Fur Collection and the Montreal Leather Collection.
(from the Public Relations file of Saks Fifth Avenue).
This series, arranged alphabetically by event, visually demonstrates through the black and white prints included here, the dynamic innovations of the FGI that is frequently involved as a sponsor or participant in fashion retrospective shows. The events thus recorded include a tribute to the designer Adrian, educational seminars for managers, historical exhibits, including the Hapsburg Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 1986 tribute to Nina Hyde, and the FGI's 50th Anniversary Journal (1980). The remainder of this series consists of several miscellaneous positive prints and contact sheets.
The shows are arranged alphabetically in the following order: American Indian, Australia, China, France and Greece, India, Japan, Mexico City, Moscow, Scandinavian (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) and Turkey. This series is a mixture of black and white photographic prints, color prints, slides, scrapbooks, correspondence, scripts, notes and publicity for the shows, most of them mounted in partnership with the U. S. State Dept. for the purpose of exchanging fashion information current or historic.
This series is arranged alphabetically and contains mainly black and white prints of many of the personalities who attended FGI events. Many of these individuals are or were FGI members. This series is important because the list of prominent attendees reflects the wide-reaching influence of the FGI. There is some minor overlap with series eight and nine. When a image is unavailable in the file, a short biography or article about the subject is usually provided. Among the prominent personalities included in this series are: Betsy Talbot Blackwell, James Brady, Pat Buckley, Thomas N. Crater, Judith Crist, Bill Cunningham, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Eva Gabor, Thomas Hoving, Estee Lauder, Frances Lear, Annie Leibovitz, Joe McGinnis, Dr. Margaret Mead, Grace Mirabella, Bess Myerson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, HSH Prince Ranier and Princess Grace Ranier, Rex Reed, Gloria Steinem, Ivana Trump, Barbara Walters, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The remainder of this series is composed of miscellaneous prints of movie stills, actors, architects, and business executives.
Series covers the decades from the 1940s through the 1990s. The subjects of the black and white photographic prints are designers who achieved prominence in decades past, as well as important contemporary designers. Some of the folders contain no images. In these instances, a biographical sketch or article about the designer is provided. The bulk of the designers represented are American; European designers are included to a lesser extent. A sampling of the designers represented in the series includes: John Anthony, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Donald Brooks, Liz Claiborne and Bob Abajian, Perry Ellis, Donna Karan, Anne Fogarty, Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston, Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, Patrick Kelly, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Kenneth Jay Lane, Ralph Lauren, Carol Little, Bob Mackie, Mary McFadden, Vera Maxwell, Isaac Mizrahi, Danny & Annette Noble, Mollie Parnis, Paloma Picasso, Oscar de la Renta, Carolyn Roehm, Sonia Rykiel, Giorgio di Sant Angelo, Yves St. Laurent, Willi Smith, Valentino and Adrienne Vittadini.
This series is arranged alphabetically. The black and white photographic images contained here reflect a portion of the more than six thousand members of the FGI photographed from the 1950s through the 1970s. Among the FGI members included are: Lenore Benson (former Executive Director of the FGI) Robin Burns, Joyce Castleberry, Francoise de la Renta & Petie Hoving, Mary Kay Edwards, Estelle Hamburger, Karol Kemster, Sally Kirkland, June Roche, Ada Shalit, Jane Troxell Stark and Susan Taylor (editor of Essence).
The texts of speeches and transcripts (the latter of speeches and audience remarks) from the period 1931-1995 are arranged chronologically, and document the FGI luncheons and other events held at major hotels throughout Manhattan. Prominent individuals from the fields of fashion, business, economics, publishing and related industries were asked to be guest speakers on timely topics. The transcripts circa 1930s through 1940s supplement the speeches, and are word-for-word remarks from the dais speakers. Matilda J. Perlmutter, a stenotype reporter, made many of the transcripts for these years. The guest speakers spoke about their fields of specialization while also remarking on current events. For example, the transcripts for the luncheons held during World War II include some first-hand accounts of Paris under the control of the Nazis, and record concerns from the American fashion community over the cut-off of raw good imports from Paris, then closed to commerce. Postwar luncheon themes focused on the recovery of the fashion industry and the impact the war had on the economy. From the 1960s to the 1990s there was an explosion of new fashion and related industry interests, for example, in the areas of menswear, new fashion options for women, changes in the industry, and the environment. The custom of the FG keeping of complete transcripts of the luncheons ended by the 1950s. There is a gap in the speeches files for the years 1934 through 1937 and for the year 1942. The Fashion Group Bulletin (newsletter) contains an abstract of the luncheon programs (located in containers 144-152). Consult the separate index at the end of the inventory.
This series is arranged into two sub-series: a) Domestic Regional Groups affiliated with the FGI and b) Regional Groups abroad affiliated with the FGI. Both sections provide an excellent source of information about the activities of the regional groups and their relationship to the parent organization. These records should not be considered complete. Many of the groups are currently active and more complete archives are most likely kept by the groups themselves. The domestic regional groups, 1930s-1990s, are arranged by city in the following order (* indicating strong representation) : Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston*, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland*, Columbus*, Dallas*, Detroit*, Fort Worth, Houston, Honolulu, Kansas City*, Los Angeles*, Miami, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Palm Springs, Philadelphia*, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (Oregon), St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle*, Tampa, Tempe, AZ; Washington, DC*. The regional groups abroad, 1930s-1990s, are smaller in scope and are arranged by city in the following order: Bogota, Colombia; Johannesburg, South Africa; London, England; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City, Mexico; Montreal, Quebec; Paris, France; Sydney, Australia, and Tokyo, Japan. The remainder of this series consists of miscellaneous administrative records, including annual reports from the 1950s to 1985, and membership directories for the period 1977-1996. See also: Series XVI. Additions. Domestic Regional Groups Affiliated with the FGI.
The Fashion reports are comprised of credit sheets and news flashes (timely fashion updates), 1954-1996, and are arranged chronologically. The credit sheets acknowledge designers, retail establishments and others who donated their products for the benefit of the FGI luncheons and other fashion events.
The Fashion Group Bulletin (later FGI Bulletin), 1931-1997, is the official organ of the organization and contains timely information about FGI activities and events of interest to its members. The newsletter provides abstracts of luncheon proceedings, reports by Committee members covering trends in specific markets, news of member's activities and career moves, information on upcoming events, and lists of new members. Later issues include graphics. The remainder of the printed material consists of publications generated by the Fashion Group International including the 1930/1980 commemorative issue.
This series is arranged into two subseries: a) Newspaper Clippings, and b) Fashion Newsletters. The Newspaper clippings are arranged, first by state, then chronologically within each state's file. Many of these articles focus on the Fashion Group and its affiliates. Other articles report fashion trends, events and personalities. Sub series B is comprised of fashion newsletters for the trade. The newsletters are trade publications pertaining to the latest trends in fashion. They include Fashion Digest Newsletter, (1942-1950), by Arthur E. Littman Service; Fashion Scope Newsletter, (1954-1968), by S. Irene Johns Inc.; The Mary Sherwell Office Newsletter, (1960-1966); and Jack Anstendig & Son Newsletter, (1964-1967). The remainder of the printed material consists of assorted publications and near-print items.
This series continues the documentation of the FGI regional groups in the United States and to a lesser extent abroad. The files contain some correspondence; however, the strength of the series is the numerous examples of events held by the regional groups. This material includes a wide variety of graphically illustrated invitations, occasional poster type material promoting the events attended by individuals in the fashion field such as designers, fashion writers, social figures and others. Regional groups with the strongest representation are Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Antonio, and Washington, DC. The files contain correspondence, invitations, minutes, newspaper clippings, notes, photographs, printed matter, and reports.