Anne Fogarty

Anne Whitney Fogarty designed the American look, creating clothes that were youthful, simple and stylish. Although Fogarty studied drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her real love was for the costumes she wore. Moving to New York she worked as a fitting-model for Harvey Berin while looking for acting parts. When she received an acting job, Berin encouraged her to think about becoming a stylist instead, and in 1948 Fogarty began designing clothes for the Youth Guild. Youth Guild's market was teenagers, who were perfect for the narrow waist and full skirts of the "New Look," a style Fogarty used.

In 1950 Fogarty began designing junior-sized clothing for Margot, Inc. She still favored the "paper-doll" silhouette for both day and evening wear, with its full skirt, narrow waist, and fitted bodice. To help create the shape, she adopted the idea of crinoline skirts from the Edwardian age. These stiffened petticoats made of nylon net, frilled or trimmed in lace, helped hold out the skirt and Fogarty encouraged wearing two at a time to enhance the silhouette. She herself had an 18-inch waist.

Fogarty wrote a book called Wife Dressing in 1959, a guide for "the fine art of being a well-dressed wife with provocative notes for the patient husband who pays the bills." In the book she recognized that women led varied lives working, as students, wives, and mothers, and encouraged women to find their own style and color—recommending an understated, natural look that did not slavishly follow the fashion of the day.

Fogarty produced different design collections under the names of A.F. Boutique, Clothes Circuit, and Collector's Items. In 1950 she was selected as one of the Young Women of the Year by Mademoiselle magazine. In 1951 she received a Coty award for dresses and in 1952 the Neiman Marcus award.

Although she closed her own business in the 1970s, Fogarty continued to design. She finished a collection for Shariella Fashion in 1981, just months before her death in January 1981. During her career Fogarty worked with a variety of silhouettes and fabrics, in a broad range of sizes. She was a prolific designer who was able to adjust to a changing market, responding with designs that typified the all-American look.