Historical past’s Headlines: Hess’s trend maven | Historical past’s Headlines


It could be exhausting to say what was the excessive level of Hess’s trend director Gerard “Gerry” Golden’s profession. There have been lots of them. However March 3, 1967, will need to have been near it.

That morning readers of the New York Occasions had a number of information to select from that day. The Vietnam Conflict was at its top, and it regarded like former lawyer normal 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, Whats up 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?”



Gerard “Gerry” Golden


However Golden’s consideration absolutely will need to have been riveted on the article on web page 30. “Hess of Allentown Exhibits 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 most costly fashion, additionally a Castillo. However the discount isn’t vital in accordance with Gerard (Gerry) Golden, the shop’s trend director. ‘Summer season garments are at all times a little bit cheaper,’ he noticed yesterday earlier than introducing the primary presentation of the most recent European import fashions in New York on the Americana Resort,” 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 evening earlier than the robes had been previewed in Pennsauken, New Jersey at a dinner for two,500 girls. Over the subsequent 4 months Golden could be holding 250 extra exhibits for ladies’s teams in jap Pennsylvania and New Jersey civic organizations. They might even be introduced in Hess’s Patio restaurant each 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 desires pleasure,” Golden added. About 75 % of the gathering was Italian and an excellent a part of the remaining 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 nations had been a trademark of Golden. He had been doing so since his early days as a trend director for Hess’s. They had been extra inexpensive 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 favored to see selling his retailer. Glamour and magnificence 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 big 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 had been there.



Hess's fashion show newspaper ad

Hess’s trend present newspaper advert


Gerard “Gerry” Golden’s formative years, it could 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 skilled 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 girls’s hats for the shop. One thing about his approach impressed Hess, or so the story goes, and he selected the spot to present Golden an opportunity by sending him on a purchaser’s journey to Japan. Hess had a status for making on-the-spot choices and the journey to Japan was apparently Golden’s massive break. Though that nation was simply starting to emerge from World Conflict II, it was a hit. “He turned 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, in accordance with the Occasions, “with the primary assortment of designers in these nations to be proven in america.”



Hess's caravan

Hess’s caravan


Each Golden and Hess had 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 ebook “The Free World: Artwork and Thought within the Chilly Conflict,” the years between 1945 and 1973 had been a novel 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” fashion. Even Hollywood acquired 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 means 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 fact Schiaparelli was previous her prime as a dressmaker. A local of Rome she had lived in America after operating away from her aristocratic household. She returned to Paris and made a status within the Twenties and 30s with maybe her most well-known consumer being Wallace Warfield Simpson, aka the Duchess of Windsor. Others included display stars Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Vivien Leigh and Ginger Rogers, amongst others. On the similar time, Schiaparelli additionally saved up with American shops, providing attire to the higher middleclass market.

If American girls within the Lehigh Valley and Allentown knew something in any respect about European trend, Schiaparelli was the title 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 maintaining a tally of the previous however wanting towards the current at properly. 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. Clothes that mirrored this “New Look” fashion had been shortly accessible at Hess’s.



Hess's department store in Allentown

Hess’s division retailer in Allentown


Apparently most vital to Golden within the 50s was encouraging rising Italian trend designers. Ever because the nineteenth century, trend had meant Paris. However there was a number of expertise in Italy whose work he wished 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 learning trend with Italian designer Sorelle Fontana in 1946, she opened her studio in Rome.

Golden met Galitzine in 1955 and urged she come to Allentown, which she did that yr to indicate her designer originals. Her hottest merchandise was her so-called “palazzo pajamas” a kind of silky lounge pants night put on that took their title from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence the place they had 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 overlook 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 acquired 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 yr ended the targets 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 outdated.





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