Thursday, 24 December 2009

Ben Zuckerman Breaks a Rule:

Ben Zuckerman, interviewed in June 1966, discussed how he intended to keep making suits, even thought popular wisdom at the time said the suit was 'dead'. He was barely able to keep up with the demand for his suits, as well as his dresses and coats. He was able to sell winter wools in May and June and had just completed $250,000 worth of winter merchandise, saying 'It doesn't matter when they sell, the are undated clothes.'

Pauline Trigere, a competitor of Zuckerman's had another viewpoint. She said 'I told Ben that when his customers hear he is going out of business, they rush out to buy a Zuckerman suit to make sure they have something to wear for the next 10 years.

Zuckerman agreed that rumors of his retirement, which recur every few years have the effect of a 'fire sale'. He had recently had an offer on his business, but refused. He had just had a show in April, called an 'early fall' collection, of 60 styles, which is a third of the usual collections.

Zuckerman recalled the early days of his business. In 1911 he went into business at age 21 with Joseph Hoffman. He formed a partnership with Morris Kraus in 1924, which continued until 1949 when Zuckerman went out of business. He was persuaded back into business on 9 November 1950 and hired Harry Schacter as his designer.

Ben Zuckerman also talked about his most popular dress of 1966, a grey wool shirt dress with buttons down the front and pockets at the hips. He also made the same dress in black velvet and red brocade. Another favorite was the 'Mame'- a white cool coat bordered in blue fox which was inspired by the musical of the same name.

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