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Chapman, Ceil

Ceil Chapman was a New Yorker and was born in Staten Island. Her first company - Her Ladyship Gowns - was established in 1940, one of her business partners being Gloria Vanderbilt. This company traded only briefly and Ceil, together with her husband Samuel Chapman (who she later divorced) traded as 'A Chapman Original', until this label gave way to a simple 'Ceil Chapman'. She went on to marry Tom Rogers but retained the Chapman name as it had built a following among both the public and movie stars. Ceil is often said to be Marilyn Monroe's favourite designer and although this may be rather a sweeping statement the star did indeed wear some Chapman designs as did a variety of other stars such as Deborah Kerr, who was a personal friend, Elizabeth Taylor for whom she designed a wedding trousseau for her marriage to Nicky Hilton. Subsequently Mamie van Doren chose a white, beaded, strapless Chapman gown to attend a film premier on behalf of Universal Studios publicity machine that was 'marketing; her as a starlet. Her date was the recently divorced (from Elizabeth Taylor) Nicky Hilton! Ceil designed for the movies and television and specialised in cocktail and more formal evening wear that were sold in department stores and boutiques. She was astute and derived additional income by lending her name and stylish image for advertising purposes to include Cadillac, which featured elegantly Chapman dressed models draped over luxury cars. Ceil even appeared, pictured in her design studio, in advertisements on behalf of Western Union Telegrams and Playtex. Ceil Chapman died in the late 1970s.