About This Video
Pauline Trigere Oral History (part 2)
Audio recording of fashion designer, Pauline Trigere. Interviewed by Robert L. Green on November 13, 1979 at her Park Avenue apartment. Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC).
This is the second interview in the the three-part series with Robert L. Green of the Fashion Institute of Technology and American fashion designer, Pauline Trigere. In this interview, Trigere goes further into the topic of the American fashion designer and the relationship between French couture and American design. The beginning of the conversation covers the effects of WWII on fashion, specifically in America. Trigere returns to the story of her time working under Travis Banton at Hattie Carnegie, which leads from Banton's style to Trigere's own style. Trigere's process of creating a collection is described at length and there is some discussion of the fashion press. In addition to her design process, Trigere discusses her use of store-wide meetings and the importance of the sales team. There is some discussion of architecture, sculpture, and the modern use of space in interiors. Trigere talks about the necessity of compromise over time in regards to materials and there is a lengthy discussion about knowing the customer, and how she may differ by region. This conversation focuses on Palm Beach and ends with an aknowledgement of the power of influence and exposure.
Pauline Trigere was born November 4th, 1908 in Paris, France and died February 13th, 2002 in New York City. Despite growing up in Paris, Trigere became a prominent and influential American fashion designer and was an advocate for American fashion design, serving as one of the original founding memebers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1962. Trigere arrived in New York on January 6th, 1937, when she and her husband and two children left Europe as Hitler began gaining power. Trigere's brother and husband opened a coat warehouse which led, eventually, to Trigere designing dresses for the business. After separating from her husband, Trigere briefly worked for Ben Gershel and then Hattie Carnegie. Trigere eventually took over the workshop when Hattie Carnegie closed her ready-to-wear line in 1942; this was the beginning of Pauline Trigere's own business. Mostly designing by draping on live models, Trigere became known for her timeless styles which avoided being overly trendy. Crisp tailoring that was also decidedly feminine exemplified Trigere's style in addition to her innovative use of cotton and wool in evening wear. She was also known for her use of fur trim. Trigere received 3 Coty awards; first in 1949, then in 1951, and then in 1959 with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, Trigere received the Neiman Marcus award in 1950, the National Cotton Council of America award in 1951, and the Filene award in 1959. Trigere was also honored by her birth city in 1972 and 1982 with the Silver Medal of the City of Paris.
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