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Eleanor Lambert, Empress of Fashion, Dies at 100

My inspiration to do a series on Eleanor was because not too many know about her. 

During Fashion Week  we are forgetting the roots- "Press Week"  the "WHY" the "WHO". 

PARIS. the WAR. 

It completely fascinated me to read the history and to learn what an extraordinary woman Eleanor was. 

Enjoy the journey in my art as I take you from the beginning 1940 right through to 2014, the time of this series. 

You will also see art of Mercedes Benz when they took over in 2009. 

Now , 2019 , it is everybody and any body who sponsors the shows..

Enjoy the  educational video and art!

At the bottom of the page you can read the  New York Times Article from Oct, 8, 2003.


1940 from Europe to american soil.

Check out this great video

ARCHIVES|Eleanor Lambert, Empress of Fashion, Dies at 100


ARCHIVES|Eleanor Lambert, Empress of Fashion, Dies at 100

New York Times, Oct 8, 2003:

Eleanor Lambert, Empress of Fashion, Dies at 100

Eleanor Lambert, whose tireless promotion of American fashion gave the industry an international presence and helped to elevate it from rag trade to respectability, died yesterday at her home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She was 100.

Often referred to as the Empress of Seventh Avenue, Miss Lambert looked the part with her trademark turbans and outsize jewelry. Her barrage of news releases and enthusiastic work as a publicity agent did much to further the careers of numerous American designers, among them Norman Norell, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein.

Miss Lambert, who founded the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1962 and ran it for more than a decade, had an almost unerring eye for recognizing future stars: Halston was one of them.

As might be expected, she had both admirers and detractors.

Her conviction that American fashion was important led her into skirmishes with the editors of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, who in the 1940's and 50's concentrated on Paris as the capital of the fashion universe and on its designers as the leaders. As she began to make American designers better known, however, the influential magazines gradually began to cover them.

''Her motto always was 'Don't look back,' '' said John Loring, a longtime friend and the design director and a senior vice president of Tiffany & Company. ''There were no rehashes or post-mortems. She didn't care a hoot about what was over, triumphs as well as defeats. And she not only wouldn't take no for an answer, she didn't hear it. Throw her out through the front door, and she'd fly back through the transom.''

Continue reading the main story

In 1973, in a highlight of her career, she produced a landmark fashion show at the Palace of Versailles. To the astonishment of many of those present, the five American designers who were showing outshined the five designers from France. The Americans were Mr. Blass, Mr. de la Renta, Halston, Miss Klein and Stephen Burrows; the French designers were Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro and Marc Bohan for Christian Dior. The success of the Americans helped further the reputation of American design.

Many of the innovations Miss Lambert introduced more than a half-century ago are an accepted part of the fashion industry, some in their original form and others revamped and revitalized. For example, in the early 1940's she originated the International Best-Dressed List, an expanded version of a Paris best-dressed list that was suspended during World War II. Although it has lost a good deal of its luster, it remains a coveted honor among women who are serious about fashion and who are backed by serious bank accounts. Nominations are made annually by fashion editors, many of whom have never set eyes on the women they are judging, and the list is then compiled by a smaller panel of editors and people of fashion. She handed control of the list to editors of Vanity Fair in 2002.

Miss Lambert's creation of the Council of Fashion Designers of America was the first attempt to bring together often warring designers, enabling them to present a united voice on issues that affected them and not incidentally to enhance their prestige.

In the 1970's, her influence within the council declined as the designers themselves became increasingly active in the association. By the 1980's, the council's activities had become glittery, with huge black-tie events and glamorous personalities whose only connections to fashion were that they wore clothes. Relevance was added in the 1990's, however, with Seventh on Sale, a benefit for AIDS research.

The prestigious Coty Fashion Critics Awards for design excellence, sponsored by Coty fragrances, were created by Miss Lambert in 1943 and were presented for more than 30 years. But as more designers began to market their own fragrances, they became increasingly unwilling to promote the Coty name. The awards were discontinued when Coty was bought by Pfizer, and in 1981 they evolved into the C.F.D.A. Awards, considered the Oscars of the fashion industry.

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was another of Miss Lambert's projects. She was one of its early supporters after its creation in 1937 as a repository for important design trends, and she remained involved with it for many years.

In the 1940's, as the press director of the New York Dress Institute, Miss Lambert introduced the concept of fashion weeks, held twice a year in New York, to replace what had been uncoordinated showings by designers. Most of the important fashion and accessory designers took part, and the grouping of their individual shows enabled American and international fashion writers to cover the industry in a condensed period.

Although there were back-to-back shows both day and evening, the week was not unalloyed work for the writers; social events, sponsored by fashion personalities, were interspersed. The fashion weeks paved the way for today's centralized fashion shows, here and abroad. And Miss Lambert's own Sunday lunch, held in her spacious Fifth Avenue apartment at the beginning of the week for out-of-town fashion reporters and a group of her New York friends, was a tradition until several years before her death. After they stopped, she did continue her Saturday movie-and-dinner evenings for a rotating group of friends.

She credited her energy and youthful spirit in part to numerous visits over the years to a clinic in Germany where she was given live-cell therapy treatment.

Mr. Loring of Tiffany attributed her ''promotional know-how and her love of events'' to her father, Clay Lambert, a circus advance man. Mr. Loring, whose great-grandfather owned a circus, said he recognized circus artistry in Miss Lambert's ability ''to attract crowds and always display the next trick.''

In addition to her involvement with fashion in this country, Miss Lambert produced shows of American fashion in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Britain, Australia and the former Soviet Union, under the auspices of the Commerce and State Departments. In 1965, she was one of President Johnson's first appointees to the National Council on the Arts. She was, too, an early publicity agent for European designers like Valentino and Pierre Cardin, and she did much to help their reputations in the United States. In her later years, she also took on a number of socialites (always well dressed) as clients.

Miss Lambert gave up her office just a year before her death but still kept busy with a few accounts. ''I still have all my marbles,'' she said. ''I don't want to sit around waiting to die.''

Miss Lambert's first marriage, to Willis Conner, an architect, in the 1920's, ended in divorce. In 1936, she married Seymour Berkson, a journalist and newspaper executive at the Hearst Corporation, who died in 1959. She is survived by a son, William Berkson, of San Francisco; a grandson and a granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

Miss Lambert was born in Crawfordsville, Ind., on Aug. 10, 1903, and attended the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the Chicago Art Institute before moving to New York in 1925. After a brief period with a Manhattan advertising agency, she became the press director of the infant Whitney Museum of American Art, and later she helped to establish the Art Dealers Association of America. Her conviction that clothing design is an art form led to her concentration on fashion promotion. The sculptor Isamu Noguchi was an early client.

She had not always juxtaposed clothing and art. ''I still remember buying my first party dress,'' she recalled in a 1993 interview. ''It was yellow,'' she said, and it had black velvet ribbons on the sleeve. ''I looked like Chicken Little in it, and I thought I was the cat's meow.''

Quoted from the New  York Times Oct. 8, 2003 

A version of this obituary; biography appears in print on October 8, 2003, on Page C00017 of the National edition with the headline: Eleanor Lambert, Empress of Fashion, Dies at 100