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Galanos, James

People who know him call him Jimmy. Even people that have just met him once speak of him like a good friend. It seems he is one of those rare people that are genuinely likeable. One of the only true American Coutiers, born in Philadelphia in 1924, the son of Greek immigrants. At the age of 7 he "understood" his destiny was to be a dress designer. In 1942 he studied fashion at the Traphage School of Fashion in NYC, but quit after only 8 months. He landed a job at Hattie Carnegie where he felt his talents were going to waste, so he headed West to Hollywood where he found work with Jean Louis, then he went to Paris to work under Robert Piguet. Soon, he returned back to Hollywood, where with the help of Jean Louis, he began his own fashion house. From then on, he was the toast of Hollywood, dressing everyone from Rosalind Russel to Nancy Reagan. His forte was his couture quality workmanship and choice of only the very best materials and embellishments. Galanos won a host of awards during his career, including the Coty Fashion Award in both 1954 and 1956, as well as being inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1959. He received the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985. In the year 2000, the City of New York began honoring American fashion designers by placing bronze plaques along the pavement of 7th Avenue. Dubbed the "Fashion Walk of Fame", Galanos was one of the first designers to be so honored. He retired from fashion in 1998.