Anne’s dresses had women lining up at such stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. She was the recipient of several awards including a Coty Award, a merit award from “Mademoiselle”, one from Bonwit Teller and a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award.
In 1962 she founded Anne Fogarty Inc which she ran for 12 years while launching several spin-off labels including A.F. Boutique, Collectors Items by Anne Fogarty and Clothes Circuit. Anne designed her last collection in 1980 for Shariella Fashions.
Anne Fogarty was an American fashion designer during the period 1940–1980 and was renowned for her feminine, timeless designs. Her book Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well Dressed Wife, which was written in 1959, resonated with Ivana where she felt that though certain sections of the book were dated, Anne’s fashion advice was still very much relevant today. Anne’s opinionated views of fashion, attention to detail and use of quality materials impressed the Milan native.
Through Anne’s book, her insight and views on fashion were easily accessible and proved to be the perfect starting point. Ivana and Greg took several steps to remain faithful to Anne Fogarty’s vision and style. They created an extensive archive of photos of her original dresses along with her vintage ads, original sewing patterns and pictures of Anne herself. “We even managed to get video footage of some of her fashion shows. We then surveyed over 100 vintage dealers across the United States asking their thoughts on the label and how they envisioned a new line,” Greg elaborated. A small inventory of Anne’s original dresses was created so that the designer could get a feel for her style and quality. “Last but not least we brought on a respected vintage dealer in New York, Joanna Go, as a consultant during fabric selection and design. While we did not want to make replicas, we did want to remain true to Anne Fogarty’s legacy”.
Anne’s obsession for high quality materials led Ivana and Greg to Italy where, after a rigorous selection process they found their designer and manufacturer. Silvia Gammaitoni is the main designer for Anne Fogarty. She grew up learning the trade from her aunts who were dressmakers for the well-to-do ladies of Rome. Having studied design at one of Italy’s fashion institutes, Silvia gained her experience at houses such as Valentino, Moschino and La Perla. Her vision for the new line leaned very much towards full length skirts and nipped waists. The entire process from fabric selection to sample making took around 2-3 months and involved many revisions in design. All the fabrics are sourced from the best textile manufacturers in Italy and each dress is handcrafted by a small group of women with decades of dress making experience.
In terms of style Fogarty had fans in two camps, those that love her paper doll cut dresses from the 50s which she is most remembered for and those that love her 60s bold print mod and sheath dresses. “We felt the best thing for the first collection was to tend more towards her classic feminine silhouette with nipped waist and longer skirt. The obvious choice for us was to identify with what made her famous.” Anne loved making elegant dresses with simple fabrics, as such with the new line the same approach was taken. While cotton blends were the main choice, the design team could not resist a gold lurex dress with a dark blue cotton lining that created a stunning effect.
The capsule collection, which was a teaser for Spring/Summer consisted of five dresses reflecting Anne’s style with a modern touch.The Spring/Summer 2015 collection will be an extension of the capsule collection consisting of classic timeless designs that Anne was famous for. Definitely more white cotton prints will be introduced but most importantly Ivana and Greg wanted to bring back her iconic shirtwaist dress with variations on classic plaid.
Anne Fogarty’s relevance today goes beyond just design. Besides being responsible for introducing the New Look to the US market and literally creating the “American Look” she was a pioneer in many other aspects. She created the concept of a “superstar” designer and label. She had the Anne Fogarty room at Lord & Taylor, a predecessor to the whole shop in shop concept. Just read her chic-ology chapter in her book and you will realise she truly defined chic and understood the driving force behind fashion and what women want. This was reflected in her dresses and more than ever women are returning to the style she made famous.