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American Fashion Pioneer To Be Discussed At Ridgewood Library

The life and work of Ridgewood High School graduate Elizabeth Hawes will be discussed at the Ridgewood Library Oct. 10.
The life and work of Ridgewood High School graduate Elizabeth Hawes will be discussed at the Ridgewood Library Oct. 10. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Elizabeth Hawes, a pioneer of 20th Century American fashion from Ridgewood whose trademark style was the simple dress with a wide skirt, will be the subject of a history lecture at the village library.

Dr. Jennie Woodard of the University of Maine will present "Elizabeth Hawes: A Marriage of Fashion and Feminism, 1903-1971" on Saturday, Oct. 10.

A precocious seamstress at a young age, the Ridgewood High School graduate attended Vassar, completed coursework at Parson's School of Fine and Applied Arts, and apprenticed at Bergdorf Goodman.

Then she set off for Paris.

There, Hawes honed her skills creating high-end knockoffs of fashions by Chanel and other designers.

After she returned home, Lord & Taylor featured Hawes with other designers as a group creating a unique American style.

At a time when most clothes were made-to-order, Hawes designed a line of ready-made clothes.

These included a glove that buttoned in the back of the wrist that was used in a Lucky Strike ad -- and was dubbed the “Lucky Strike Glove.”

A little more than a decade after launching her fashion career, Hawes published the autobiographical expose of the industry, “Fashion Is Spinach.”

Style, she wrote, "changes only in accordance with a true change in public taste or need, whereas fashions change because the industry must meet payrolls, magazines must be published, and a myth must be perpetuated."

The lecture will begin at 2 p.m. at the Library, 125 N. Maple Ave.

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