By Lynn Byrne. How appropriate that the release of a book on the woman responsible for putting American fashion on the map should be feted at a conference on the latest innovations and trends in design. Eleanor Lambert would be the first to want to know “what’s new, what’s next”.
No, scratch that. She would be the first to tell you what’s new, what’s next.
As John Tiffany describes in his new book, Eleanor Lambert: Still Here, Eleanor Lambert’s efforts as a publicity agent established American fashion as we know it today. She is responsible for creating the Best-Dressed List, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Costume Institute and Fashion Week.
And not only was she an outstanding publicist in fashion, her efforts influenced all matters of contemporary taste, including art and interior design. And she began it all at a time when few women worked outside the home.
She led a fascinating (and long) life, living to age 100. Born in Crawfordsville Indiana, she always dreamed big. She attended the John Herron Art Institute and the Chicago Art Institute before moving to New York. In her first job in Manhattan, she initiated publicity programs for artists and art galleries. She was involved in the opening of the Whitney Museum of American Art and was its first Press Director. She also was involved with the founding of the Museum of Modern Art.
It was her conviction that clothing could be an art form that led to her representation of now legendary designers such as Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Halston and Calvin Klein. A fashion icon herself, Lambert is noted, especially in her later years, for her trademark turbans and oversized jewelry.
Author John Tiffany, who once worked for Lambert, had access to a treasure of archival material. His book is the definitive monograph on the achievements of this fascinating woman. It includes never before published, dazzling fashion photography like these stunning designs by Bill Blass and Christian Dior, together with Lambert’s own original press releases.
The book, published by Pointed Leaf Press, provides inspiration to not only those who are fashion-obsessed, but to anyone interested in living a life of style and flair.
Count me in: here I am with author John Tiffany and my signed copy.
The book signing took place in the Couture Showroom, which features the fashion forward furniture of Vladimir Kagan. Perfect for a book on the Empress of Seventh Avenue, as Lambert was known, up until her death in 2003.
So what is the hot new item in the Showroom?
This great sectional from Vladimir Kagan. Known as the Corso Sectional, it comes with a built-in end table and an oil rubbed walnut base. Like true couture, it can be ordered in custom dimensions and shapes.
I would like to sink into that Corso sectional to pour over my new book! I am feeling uber fashionable already.
First photo via CFDA.com. Photo 2 via Socialite Auctions. Photos 3,4 and 5 provided by Pointed Leaf Press. Photo 7 provided by Couture Showrooms.