The Best Dressed Hoosier

It is not easy to document the life of one of fashion's most legendary voices, but author and fashion historian John Tiffany is well-suited for the challenge.

In his new book, Eleanor Lambert: Still Here, Tiffany chronicles the life of a woman who wanted to give American designers an equal voice on the world stage.

Eleanor Lambert was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana (about an hour west of Indianapolis) in 1903 and studied at the John Herron School in Indianapolis (now known as the Herron School for Design at IUPUI). She passed away at the age of 100 in 2003.

Tiffany became acquainted with Lambert in the 80s, when he had the good fortune to work with this amazing woman.  

By then, Lambert had created what would become Fashion Week in New York City, the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).  

She also hosted a show at the Palace of Versailles in France in 1973, showcasing five top American designers (fellow Hoosier Bill Blass among them) with five French designers. The goal was to illustrate how American designers were just as good as their French counterparts.   

"It became obvious I had to tell her story," Tiffany tells Fashion Wrap Up.

"It took her 40 years to show American fashion needed a seat at the table," he says. "We need people like Eleanor Lambert."

Tiffany says Lambert wanted to showcase the work of others and did so as a publicist and patron of fashion and the art community in general.  

Tiffany admits the biggest challenge was trying to "stay true" to her while capturing close to eight decades of fashion history.  

He also says Lambert would purposely keep what he describes as "other alpha females" around to empower other women and spur on some "friendly competition" in the fashion industry.  

The book comes out later this fall.  

~Devon Scott @DevonScottIndy

(Pictures courtesy the CFDA and portfolio.com)

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