Lambert, Eleanor 1903-2003
LAMBERT, Eleanor 1903-2003
See index for CA sketch: Born August 10, 1903, in Crawfordsville, IN; died October 7, 2003, in Manhattan, NY. Publicity agent and author. Lambert, the "Empress of Seventh Avenue," was a fashion promoter who has been credited with making the American fashion industry a respected force in the world after years of Parisian dominance. Considering fashion a type of art form, she studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the Chicago Art Institute. She moved to New York City in 1925 and worked at an advertising agency in Manhattan and as a press director for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Becoming more and more intrigued by fashion, she was also an advisory board member at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and founded her own public relations firm. Inheriting the promotional abilities from her father, a circus advance man, Lambert became a champion of American fashion designers and helped make the work of Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, and others internationally acclaimed. These efforts began as early as the 1940s, when Paris was considered the fashion capital of the world and American designers were virtually ignored. Lambert developed new ways to promote their fashions, including coming up with the International Best-Dressed List, which she managed until 2002, when she allowed the editors at Vanity Fair to take it over. As press director for the New York Dress Institute, Lambert also organized semiannual fashion weeks in New York City as another promotional device. Other initiatives included founding the Council of Fashion Designers in 1962 to help American designers form an organized and cooperative effort to promote their clothing, and creating the Coty Fashion Critics Award for design excellence, which has evolved more recently into the C.F.D.A. Awards. In 1973, Lambert enjoyed a major triumph when she produced a fashion show at the Palace of Versailles during which Americans managed to show up the work of French designers such as Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. An active woman throughout her life, Lambert did not officially retire from her job as president of Eleanor Lambert, Ltd., until 2002, and even then she continued to represent several clients. Lambert was the author of two books on fashion: World of Fashion: People, Places, Resources (1976; second edition, 1979) and Quips and Quotes about Fashion (1978).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2003, Section 1, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2003, p. B10.
New York Times, October 8, 2003, p. C17.
Times (London, England), October 13, 2003, p. 29.
Washington Post, October 8, 2003, p. B7.