Cashin, Bonnie (b. 1915)

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Cashin, Bonnie (b. 1915)

American fashion designer. Born in Oakland, California, in 1915; studied painting at the Art Students League (New York) and in Paris.


Neiman-Marcus award (1950); Coty Award (1961); New York City Fashion Critics Winnie award; Sports Illustrated award; named Woman of the Year by the Lighthouse of the Blind (1961).

Selected films—as costume designer:

Claudia (1943); Ladies of Washington (1944); The Eve of St. Mark (1944); Home in Indiana (1944); In the Meantime, Darling (1944); Laura (1944); Keys of the Kingdom (1944); A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1944); The Bullfighters (1945); Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (Diamond Horseshoe, GB, 1945); Where Do We Go from Here? (1945); Junior Miss (1945); The Caribbean Mystery (1945); The House on 92nd Street (1945); Fallen Angel (1945); Do You Love Me? (1946); Cluny Brown (1946); Anna and the King of Siam (1946); Claudia and David (1946); Three Little Girls in Blue (1946); (with Charles LeMaire) I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now? (1947); (with LeMaire) Nightmare Alley (1947); (with LeMaire) Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948); (with LeMaire) Give My Regards to Broadway (1948); (with LeMaire) The Iron Curtain (1948); (with LeMaire) Cry of the City (1948); (with LeMaire) The Luck of the Irish (1948); (with LeMaire) Unfaithfully Yours (1948); (with LeMaire) The Snake Pit (1948); (with LeMaire) Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949); (with LeMaire) It Happens Every Spring (1949); (with LeMaire) You're My Everything (1949).

Bonnie Cashin followed the same path as her mother, who was also a fashion designer, and began her career as a designer for New York's Roxy Theater in the 1930s. While working there, she studied painting at the Art Student's League and brought in extra money by designing sports clothes for a manufacturer; from this time on, Cashin would continue to divide her time between designing for showbusiness and the rag trade. After studying in Paris, she returned to her native California to work for 20th Century-Fox. Cashin's fame came early with the dress she designed for one of Hollywood's most elegant actresses, Gene Tierney , in the 1944 film Laura. Whereas many American films of the '40s were marked by an over-dressing offered by filmmakers as an antidote to war-time austerity, Cashin avoided this stylistic trap for Laura and the result was costuming that would not look dated to later audiences.

Cashin returned to New York in 1949 and in 1952 founded her own firm, Bonnie Cashin Designs, Inc., in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Her designs—executed in sturdy materials of natural and bright colors, sometimes with leather and brass trimmings—followed an independent, informal direction. In a 1953 collaboration with manufacturers Phillip Sills and Ballantyne, she produced classic, simple sportswear. Cashin also served as head of Innovative Design Fund, a foundation that encourages younger designers. Known as one of America's most original and successful designers, she received numerous awards and honors, including a Neiman-Marcus Award (1950) and a Coty Award (1961). Many of her originals are housed at New York's Brooklyn Museum.