The premier American fashion designer of the mid-twentieth century Anne Fogarty defined the feminine mystique as one that was a delicate, well crafted work of style, glamour, and practicality. A delicious paradox herself, Fogarty was as much a career woman as she was a wife—three times at that. She simply adored the idea of beauty, at any age, and saw it as a gift to bestow upon the self, and the man of the house.
Her aesthetic could be defined as Chic-ology, an approach to life as evidenced by the swath one cuts in silks, cottons, lightweight wools, sequins, hand gloves, mink stoles. Hat, chapeaus of every sort, stockings, sandals, pumps. Fogarty’s world begins where her fingertips end, as she laid bare her vision in her single volume of personal style that remains a timeless primer for the woman who has it together, from head to toe. First published in 1959, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife has been republished in a facsimile edition by Glitterati Incorporated, replete with the charming illustrations and words to the husband. “If you adore her, you must adorn her,” Fogarty whispers in the top right hand corner of page one.
Fogarty’s succulent insights are dolloped out like great heaps of whipped cream. She reveals, “’Chic’ is a word I’m sure Shakespeare would have used—if the word have been part of the English language at the time—and if it had been ‘chic’ to use it. Fundamentally a fashion word today, it expresses more than just clothes or style. It has come to convey a sense of contemporary culture, the ultimate fashion expression for this place and time.
“'Chic-ology’ is impossible to define. It is the psychology of fashion, meant to be interpreted by each of us in individual terms. I don’t think it’s too farfetched to predict that someday chic-ology will take its place among the sciences as a key to the emotional well-being of women, the face and form we present to the world are signs of our inner conflict and tranquility. It’s not exactly a new idea that looking well makes you feel well. Chic-ology is the means for examining and clarifying your fashion viewpoint.”
Indeed, Fogarty’s point of view was so clear and distinct that she was able to use it to elevate herself to the premier American fashion designer of the mid-twentieth century. Active from 1940-1980 Fogarty was noted for her understated, ladylike designs that were accessible to women on a limited income for daywear, active wear, cocktail and evening wear, covering all areas of the American woman’s multi-dimensional life.
Honoring Fogarty’s singular stamp of American fashion that came to define the look of the “Mad Men” era, Gregory Halvorsen and his wife will be re-launching Anne Fogarty Inc. in June 2014. The re-launch will begin with a crowdfunding campaign, offering five new redesigned dresses inspired by the original Anne Fogarty line. The line is being designed and manufactured in Italy with a team of thirty-five women who do everything by hand, each reasonably priced for a timeless, high-quality look that won Fogarty fame.
The crowdfunding campaign features a distinct array of pieces from the new line, including a silk scarf, one of Fogarty’s trademark accessories; a copy of Wife Dressing in a customized purse; a red pleated cocktail dress; a gold lurex dress; a beige polka dot sheath dress, with or without a coordinating swing jacket; a white cotton fern print dress; and a floral pattern dress. But perhaps the most luxurious item of all includes a trip to Italy for five days to work personally with the designer on one dress for the Fall Winter 2015 collection, along with a custom tailored first sample of the dress.
The brilliance of the re-launch of Anne Fogarty Inc. can be attributed to the business acumen of Greg Halvorsen, of whom Fogarty unknowingly wrote when she penned the words that appear at the end of the chapter titled, “Never Underestimate the Power of a Man”: “Men who take an interest in fashion seem to have better taste than most women, who are too close to the subject, having grown up with it. You are in a position to give your wife a fresh approach that is both objective and personal. Your taste can add to her understanding of herself. Your approval can add to her self-confidence.”
Indeed, one glance at the new Anne Fogarty line reveals a line of looks that are as timeless as they are right on time. The genius of Fogarty is her ability to give women what they want: the effortless beauty and classic glamour of a flower blooming in the sun. For, as Fogarty notes in her book, “Chic is attention to smallest detail. Chic is not blind acceptance of fashion fad. Chic does not depend on money. Chic is a personal mood. Chic is Instinct plus Impulse plus Individuality”—like italics on words beginning with a capital I.