“Eleanor Lambert: Mother of Fashion PR"
Eleanor Lambert, named the “First Lady of Fashion” by the Wall Street Journal, is known today for her many accomplishments in the world of public relations as well fashion. Ultimately, she revolutionized the fashion industry in America, and placed American fashion on the map.
Eleanor Lambert’s career officially began in the mid 1930’s, when she began working as a publicist for the Whitney Museum of Modern Art. She first began representing emerging artists, and was the first publicist to represent artists rather than the galleries. Eleanor believed in talent. She believed in promoting the individual artists regardless of whether or not they had the money to hire her. Instead, they paid her in art.
Eleanor’s success in representing artists, made her well known in the creative community, and around 1935 American fashion designers began to seek her out as well. During this time, France dominated the fashion industry and while French couturiers were celebrated, American fashion designers were unknown (Diliberto, 2009). Magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, would only report on European fashion.
Once Eleanor signed her first American fashion designer to represent, becoming the first publicist to represent fashion designers, her mission became to promote American designers and demonstrate American fashion was just as worthy as European fashion. As a publicist, Eleanor Lambert was fearless and perseverant in her pursuit of promoting American fashion and the nation’s designers.
Her audience ranged from emerging artists and designers, to department stores, socialites, and people who had influential voices in the creative industry. She used her connections in the industry to promote young designers and artists. Eleanor also worked with department stores to promote their best American fashion designers. Eleanor was not interested in promoting herself; as a publicist she was only interested in promoting others and their talent.
With her wardrobe full of fur coats, her infamous turbans, and oversized jewelry, her appearance certainly matched her innate sense of self and fearless personality (Peasly). Growing up in a small town in Indiana, she came to New York City dreaming of a more luxurious and exciting life, and determined to make a name for herself. She could be described as sincere, judging by her modest background and strong work ethic, as well as daring and trendy. With her strong worth ethic and ambitious personality, she paved the way for emerging artists and ultimately established America’s place in fashion, on a global scale. Eleanor worked very hard, and her career spanned 75 years, her death marking the end of her 75-year career in the fashion world. “She was determined to be the best at whatever she did, even if that meant she had to invent a new profession,” Eleanor’s son, Bill Berkson stated during an interview with Vanity Fair.
Eleanor Lambert was successful with changing the way...