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Simpson, Adele

Adele Smithline Simpson was born in New York, USA, in 1903. She studied at the Pratt Institute of Design, in Brooklyn, New York. She was married to Herbert Sondheim. In her 20's, she was reputedly one of the highest paid designers in America. In 1927, she was appointed head designer at Ben Gershel's, a ready-to-wear company. She then moved to Mary Lee Fashions, where she designed under her own name. Subsequently she bought out this business in 1944, changing the name to Adele Simpson Inc. She designed jewellery for a short period in the 1950's which is now much sought after at vintage jewellery stores. In 1964 the company made Givenchy's special collection for Bloomingdales Store in New York. Simpson designed practical clothes, outfits which could be worn in layers and discarded to reveal evening wear under day wear. Her blouse and suit, dress and jacket or coat and suit ensembles were extremely popular, especially with the wives of US politicians. Mrs Eisenhower and Mrs Jimmy Carter, along with many other First Ladies, were among her clientele. She was the first American designer to treat cotton as a serious fashion fabric, using it for day dresses as well as full-skirted evening gowns. In the 1950's, she produced a cotton Chemise Dress with belts attached, which could be tied at the front or back. The dresses which Adele Simpson made are still treasured and snapped up when they appear on vintage sale. She died in Greenwich, Ct. USA in 1995, at the age of 92.