Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stephen Burrows

Hello All,

We are halfway in Black History Month, and I am still excited about the research I have found.  The designer I am going to highlight this morning is one of my favorite designers, Stephen Burrows. 

I had the pleasure to meet Burrows while in grad school in 2011, and I must say that not only is he a true pioneer of fashion, but his facial expressions are also quite hilarious!

Burrows was born in Newark, NJ in 1943. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 1966.  Upon graduation, he began creating garments for the O Boutique, and his display windows literally stopped traffic.  He launched a Ready-To-Wear collection for Bonwit Teller in 1969.  Later that year, Joel Schumacher, the visual director for Henri Bendel, introduced Burrows to Bendel's legendary fashion director, Geraldine Stutz, and he was hired on the spot.

Burrows rose to fame with Henri Bendel, and his clientele included:
  • Cher

  • Diana Ross

  • Lauren Bacall

  • Liza Minnelli

  • Jerry Hall

  • Lauren Hutton

  • Barbra Streisand

Burrows was known for his color-blocking techniques.  He was influenced by music, dance, and the body, and he produced revolutionary designs that were soft, comfortable, and chic.  He was known for his use of stretch fabrics such as wool and rayon jersey, and he crafted a close fit and slim silhouette.  He originated "the lettuce edge" that became his signature and remains in his collections today.  Burrows was nominated for a Coty Award, the fashion industry's highest honor, in 1971 and 1972, and he received the award in 1973, 1974, and 1977.

After his success with Henri Bendel, he opened up his own shop on Seventh Avenue, selling everything from clothing to fragrances, furs, and sunglasses.  Burrows is the first African American to achieve international acclaim.  After a long hiatus, Burrows came back into the spotlight and started creating his signature pieces again.  As of today, after being in the business for 45 years, Burrows is still designing his signature looks for the fashion world.

Stephen Burrows Designs

1960s & 70s





2011 Collection

2011 Collection

2010 Collection for Target

2010 Collection for Target

First Lady Michelle Obama wearing Stephen Burrows in 2010
Until Next Time!

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