I just got back from a trip to New York, during which I managed some research time at The Fashion Group International offices. Why the Fashion Group? My very own Mary Brooks Picken was a founding member (along with Eleanor Roosevelt!), president for several years in the 30’s, and continued as an active member throughout her life. You can imagine that I was eager to see what stories their library may have to tell me.
Once I arrived, I was introduced to Jean Meek-Barker, archivist for the Fashion Group (see photos above: top row, left). She graciously squeezed me in for an appointment on short notice, gave me a wonderful tour and introduced me to the staff. I felt fortunate she was able to accommodate me as it was Fashion Week in New York. To say the least, things were hectic. I was lucky to have company on this excursion from my husband’s step-sister, Meg (top row, center above, pouring over binders of slides from runway shows – every season since the 1940’s (top row, right)).
In the library, it was one treat after another, including a wonderful library of fashion books included this title on famed costume designer Edith Head (middle row, left & center), as well as several editions of Mary Brooks Picken’s Fashion Dictionary (middle row, right). Take a look at the Bazar book, Fabulous at Every Age, Your Quick and Easy Guide to Fashion (bottom row, left) open to a page of shoe styles paired with Mary’s dictionary explaining the proper names for unique heels. Great fashion is timeless!
The last photo I’ve included (bottom row, right) is a portrait gallery at FGI, including that of Marion C. Taylor, first president (1932), and editor of Vogue and House and Garden.
Along with everything else she has contributed to my life, Mary lead me to the Fashion Group (I am enjoying my membership in my local Kansas City Chapter). In this post, as in others coming, my hope is to continue to share her legacy with you, as she has with me.
Two final notes:
The Fashion Group International is a global, non-profit, professional organization with 5000 members in the fashion industry including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. If you have any interest in learning more take a look at their Web site and consider visiting a meeting. If you have a chapter in your area, it’s a great place to network and share your enthusiasm for fashion.
If you want to simply learn more about the beginnings of the Fashion Group, visit this history page.