Liz Claiborne: Sportswear of the 80s
inJune 29, 2012 - 8:47am
Any woman who wears clothes will know the label Liz Claiborne. As I grew up and started to purchase my own clothing all I wanted was something with the Liz label. I remember when she made a line for men and I purchased a Liz shirt for my husband. At the time I didn't understand why he wasn't thrilled with it, later I understood he had no taste.
Liz Claiborne was born Anne Elisabeth Jane Claiborne on March 31, 1929 in Brussels. Her American parents where a prominent family from Louisiana. At the start of WWII the family returned to New Orleans and enrolled their 10 year old daughter in St Timothy’s a boarding school in Maryland. It is unknown how many years she spent there but at an early age she left school and moved to Europe to study art.
In 1949 she moved to New York City where she became a sketch artist work at the sportswear house Tina Leser. Later she joined the design team of Jonathan Logan as chief designer of junior dresses.
Claiborne along with her husband Art Ortenberg, Leonard Boxer and Jerome Chazen, started her own company in 1976 with the intention of creating moderately priced clothing for the working woman. She started a new shopping trend by making department stores keep her separates in one place rather than the usual shirt department, dress department, etc.
The Liz line was so popular by 1986 it made the Fortune 500 with sales of $1.2 billion. While her designs were wildly popular, especially during the 1980's and 1990's, she never did a couture line. All her designs were mass produced and sold off the rack in most every moderate to high priced department stores for the everyday woman.
She retired from active management in 1989 after learning she was suffering from a rare form of cancer. Sadly she passed away on June 26, 2007, losing this long battle. Her line continues but is sold only through the JCPenney stores.
Alley Cats Vintage specializes in vintage fashions ranging from the 1930's through the early 1980's. You will find a wide selection of vintage hats, evening wear, day dresses, shoes and purses, also lingerie in all sizes and colors for all shapes.
Written by Christine Moore
Alley Cats Vintage on Ruby Lane