It might be laborious to say what was the excessive level of Hess’s trend director Gerard “Gerry” Golden’s profession. There have been a lot of them. However March 3, 1967, should have been near it.
That morning readers of the New York Occasions had a whole lot of information to select from that day. The Vietnam Conflict was at its peak, and it appeared like former legal professional common Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shaping up as a troublesome contender for the White Home with sitting President Lyndon Johnson. Again on web page 29, the leisure part, Howdy Dolly was going robust with Martha Raye within the lead and there was a field with outsized letters that learn “WHAT! YOU HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN MAN OF LA MANCHA ONCE?”
However Golden’s consideration certainly should have been riveted on the article on web page 30. “Hess of Allentown Reveals its Imports,” the headline learn. Beneath the byline of Occasions trend author Bernadine Morris was an account of the most recent fashions Golden had introduced again from Europe.
“Costs are down within the latest couture import assembled in Europe by Hess’s division retailer of Allentown, Pa,” the article started. “A crystal beaded dinner robe by Antonio del Castillo is priced at $7,500–$1,500 lower than final season’s costliest type, additionally a Castillo. However the discount isn’t vital based on Gerard (Gerry) Golden, the shop’s trend director. ‘Summer time garments are at all times just a little cheaper,’ he noticed yesterday earlier than introducing the primary presentation of the most recent European import fashions in New York on the Americana Lodge,” which hosted many celebrities of the period in that decade, together with the Beatles.
Morris went on to notice that this was Golden’s forty eighth trend journey to Europe. The night time earlier than the robes had been previewed in Pennsauken, New Jersey at a dinner for two,500 ladies. Over the subsequent 4 months Golden can be holding 250 extra reveals for girls’s teams in japanese Pennsylvania and New Jersey civic organizations. They’d even be offered in Hess’s Patio restaurant day by day and featured within the retailer’s giant image home windows, artistically staged by Hess’s vp of design, Wolfgang Otto. “The common housewife has been influenced by TV. She’s not taken with daytime garments or whether or not an outfit has welt seams or baggage seams, she needs pleasure,” Golden added. About 75 p.c of the gathering was Italian and a great a part of the remainder French. However, in accordance, to Morris, Golden had additionally included fashions from designers from Africa and the Close to East.
Bringing fashions from different, often-overlooked international locations had been an indicator of Golden. He had been doing so since his early days as a trend director for Hess’s. They have been extra reasonably priced than the couture from Europe and so launched it to People who would possibly by no means see it in any other case. This text within the Occasions was simply the type of factor Max Hess preferred to see selling his retailer. Glamour and class and a contact of the world exterior of the Lehigh Valley made his retailer distinctive. This was what Golden succeeded in bringing to his 24 years at Hess’s. Having a trend director taking part in a major position within the rising European trend world of the day burnished the shop’s picture in each the Lehigh Valley and internationally. In line with one supply, Hess insisted the shop be listed as having outposts in London, Paris and Rome. They could have been not more than a cellphone on a desk, however they have been there.
Gerard “Gerry” Golden’s youth, it might not have been guessed he would have had an curiosity in trend. Born in Pittston, Luzerne County he was the son of Martin A. Golden III and Florence Golden. He had a brother, Martin. After attending Bucknell College, the place he was educated as an engineer, he was employed as a treasurer and gross sales supervisor of Lenox Manufacturing Firm of Catasauqua. Throughout World Conflict II he served with the Military Engineers within the Pacific as a primary lieutenant, receiving a number of citations for his service.
In 1947 Golden went to work for Hess’s as a trend millinery purchaser. In line with the reminiscence of 1 former longtime Hess’s worker, the story was that Max Hess noticed Golden shopping for ladies’s hats for the shop. One thing about his approach impressed Hess, or so the story goes, and he selected the spot to offer Golden an opportunity by sending him on a purchaser’s journey to Japan. Hess had a popularity for making on-the-spot choices and the journey to Japan was apparently Golden’s huge break. Though that nation was simply starting to emerge from World Conflict II, it was successful. “He grew to become the primary American purchaser to introduce a excessive trend assortment of designer originals within the Orient,” famous the New York Occasions. This was adopted by journeys to Greece and Turkey returning, based on the Occasions, “with the primary assortment of designers in these international locations to be proven in america.”
Each Golden and Hess have been lucky to have come alongside throughout that interval of post-war America. In line with artwork and cultural author Louis Menand in his latest guide “The Free World: Artwork and Thought within the Chilly Conflict,” the years between 1945 and 1973 have been a singular interval when tradition crossed the transatlantic world. From the existentialism of philosophers in Paris to summary expressionism from artists in New York, concepts flourished. Not everybody was snug with it. Time journal in that period referred to summary expressionist artist Jackson Pollack as “Jack the Dripper” for his well-known drip work. Couture was additionally influenced within the new “free world” type. Even Hollywood received into the act with films set within the trend world like 1955’s “Fancy Free” with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire and 1957’s “Designing Lady” with Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck. Hess and Golden of their approach took benefit of bringing that worldwide trend sense to the Lehigh Valley.
It was in 1952 that Golden made his first main foray into the world of European trend by bringing Elsa Schiaparelli to Hess’s to show her newly created lingerie fashions. In reality Schiaparelli was previous her prime as a designer. A local of Rome she had lived in America after working away from her aristocratic household. She returned to Paris and made a popularity within the Twenties and 30s with maybe her most well-known shopper being Wallace Warfield Simpson, aka the Duchess of Windsor. Others included display screen stars Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Vivien Leigh and Ginger Rogers, amongst others. On the identical time, Schiaparelli additionally stored up with American malls, providing attire to the higher middleclass market.
If American ladies within the Lehigh Valley and Allentown knew something in any respect about European trend, Schiaparelli was the identify they knew. When she got here to Allentown it attracted many to Hess’s, bringing the romance of Paris trend together with her. However Golden was not solely keeping track of the previous however trying towards the current at nicely. In 1947 Paris designer Christian Dior had come out with the longer size “New Look” attire that raised eyebrows if not hemlines. Anecdotal proof means that some returning World Conflict II G.I.s most well-liked their wives and girlfriend’s shorter skirt size proper the place it had been. However Paris had spoken. Attire that mirrored this “New Look” type have been shortly accessible at Hess’s.
Apparently most necessary to Golden within the 50s was encouraging rising Italian trend designers. Ever for the reason that nineteenth century, trend had meant Paris. However there was a whole lot of expertise in Italy whose work he needed to encourage. Amongst these he contacted at first – though not Italian, however based mostly in Rome- was Irene Galitzine. Born into the Galitzines, a Russian noble household on the time of the Revolution, they fled to Rome. After finding out trend with Italian designer Sorelle Fontana in 1946, she opened her studio in Rome.
Golden met Galitzine in 1955 and prompt she come to Allentown, which she did that 12 months to indicate her designer originals. Her hottest merchandise was her so-called “palazzo pajamas” a sort of silky lounge pants night put on that took their identify from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence the place they have been first launched. Later, within the phrases of the New York Occasions, “her salon on the By way of Venato was the place DuPonts and Fords competed to have first crack at her designs.” Galitzine didn’t neglect Hess’s and returned there a number of occasions, most notably in 1963. By then she numbered Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor amongst her purchasers.
Within the Sixties Golden was showing on seasonal native T.V. specials. Clearly, the costly designer trend gadgets weren’t within the vary of most of Hess’s clients. However that apparently was Golden’s and by extension Hess’s level. They received buyers into the shop and as soon as there they’d purchase one thing.
The shop’s sale in 1968 and the dying of Max Hess, age 57, the identical 12 months ended the objectives he and Golden shared.
On February 16, 1971, the Morning Name introduced the dying of Gerry Golden at his brother’s Catasauqua house after an sickness of a number of months. He was 55 years previous.