Eleanor Lambert, Godmother of American Fashion
Simply put, without Eleanor Lambert there would be no American fashion industry. At least not the multi-billion dollar, obsessively publicized, obsessively scrutinized and obsessively obsessed over entity which we know and love/secretly hate today. An extraordinary woman by any means, she lived to be 100 and in her lifetime she contributed as much to fashion as any designer or editor, while etching out the role of the fashion publicist. PR girls, take note — this is the stuff you’re made of.
A young Eleanor by Cecil Beaton
Eleanor Lambert was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana on Aug. 10, 1903. She studied sculpture at the John Herron Art Institute, supporting herself by doing fashion sketches and reporting on the side. She met and eloped with an architectural student to Illinois and, pooling together $200, they moved to New York in 1925. There she landed her first job with a Manhattan ad agency and eventually began promoting and representing American artists such as Thomas Benton, Walt Kuhn, Jackson Pollack, John Curry, George Bellows, Jacob Epstein and Isamu Noguch. She was the first press director of the Whitney Museum when it opened in 1930 and was involved in founding the Museum of Modern Art.