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Brooks, Donald

Born in New York City (Jan. 1928), and raised in New Haven Conneticut, Donald Brooks was a true American designer. After attending Syracuse University, Donald Brooks entered the Yale School of Drama, where he first decided to become a costume and clothing designer. He then transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology and then the Parsons School of Design. By 1963, he had opened his own business. Often included as one of the "three B's of fashion" with Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beane, Brooks wanted to provide American women a way to dress independently of Paris couture. Jacqueline Kennedy wore a Brooks-designed sleeveless pink silk sheath on a tour of India in 1962, and when Truman Capote threw his famous "Black and White Ball" at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, there were more Brooks gowns at the party than those of any other designer. His work in the Broadway theatre cultivated a flair for larger than life looks, which he then modified into his fashion designs. His signature style was clean, crisp lines and bright, bold prints. He won Coty awards, Oscar, Tony and Emmy nominations.