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Edited by Lester Brathwaite on July 17 2012 at 1:10 PM

Fashion of the Times

In 1932, a fashion designer named Annette Simpson reached out to Lambert hoping to garner similar press coverage the PR whiz had achieved for one of her artists. “She was my first designer client,” Lambert recalled. “I never got paid, however. She was very crazy.” Nevertheless, Lambert saw fashion as an art form all its own and decided that she wanted to do for American designers — who at that time were largely working anonymously — what she had done for American artists, that is, turn them “into personalities and give them rounded appearances.” She initially met with resistance from the fashion community, however. When she told her scheme to Harper’s Bazaar editor, Diana Vreeland, Vreeland responded, “Eleanor, you are such an amateur!”

Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail