Tag Archives: Tastemaker

ELEANOR LAMBERT STARTED PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING AND NOW FIT OWNS A TON OF HER STUFF

Back when John Tiffany was in high school, he was researching the 1973 Battle of Versailles fashion show for a speechwriting project, and someone suggested he call Eleanor Lambert, the legendary publicist who organized it.

“She answered the phone, gave me a quote, and wished me luck,” he says.

Eleanor and John

Eleanor Lambert in her golden years, with John Tiffany

When he moved to New York in 1995, she hired him as one of her assistants, and he had free access to her files, rich with celeb photos and news clippings about the Versailles show, Fashion Week, the March of Dimes, the Coty Awards, the Best Dressed List (which Vanity Fair now oversees), and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, all of which she founded. (She also found time to get her hair done every morning.) “I was probably the first person ever to look through those files,” John says. “I found unopened phone bills from the late ’30s.”

Miss Lambert died in 2003, at 100 years old. Much of those archives—the materials about the Coty Awards and the CFDA— ended up at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art but were recently transferred to FIT’s Special Collections department.

And John wrote a book about her. “Eleanor Lambert: Still Here” is a 320-page coffee-table number out Sept. 7 from Pointed Leaf Press. The book covers her youth, her litany of achievements, and the countless designers who owe her big time for their success.

Eleanor Lambert: Still Here

Eleanor Lambert: Still Here, by John Tiffany

“People told her she was an amateur for thinking that American fashion was just as good as European fashion,” John says. “Nowadays, most people in the world have an American aesthetic—we’re not matchy-matchy, we all wear separates—which she first believed in in the mid-’30s.”

ELIZABETH TAYLOR AUCTION CAUSES CHATTER AMONG JEWELRY EXPERTS

When it comes to jewelry, what is the value of provenance? In other words, how much have Liz Taylor’s legendary bijoux appreciated just because she wore them so glamorously?

On December 13, the world will find out. That day, as Christie’s spreads her collection to the winds, jewelers everywhere (as well as most other kinds of person) will be watching to see how much her valuables fetch.

“She really is the last of Hollywood royalty,” said Professor Michael Coan, chair of FIT’s Jewelry Design department.

Nice rock

Elizabeth Taylor's enormo-diamond ring

Take the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, the 33.19-carat rock that Richard Burton gave her and that she wore everywhere. It’s valued at $2.5 to $3.5 million; how much more will her glamorous finger add to it?

Dare we brooch the subject?

Dame Taylor's historic brooch

Or the Prince of Wales Brooch, a piece without any pricey gems to speak of, which she bought from the Duchess of Windsor for $400,000, after it was valued at just $80,000. “If it goes for over half a million dollars, it not only has the cachet of the Duchess of Windsor, but also the cachet of Liz Taylor,” said Professor Coan. “If it goes for $80,000, then it means we don’t give a damn who owned it. But I would not be surprised to see it go for $800,000.”

A complicating factor is that the proceeds will benefit amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The wealthy might open their pocketbooks a bit wider because it will make them look good. As will Ms. Taylor’s bodacious bling.