American ready-to-wear fashion designer James Galanos (1924-2016) was often noted by his clients, his peers, and the fashion press for the quality of his work, which was considered the equal or better than that of French couturiers. He ran his business, Galanos Originals, in Los Angeles, California, from 1951-1998, catering to high-end clients in all spheres of life, including Nancy Reagan, Rosalind Russell, Diana Ross, and Betsy Bloomingdale. In this paper I attempt a comprehensive overview of his nearly fifty years in business, supported by materials from the newly established James G. Galanos Archive at the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University. This work begins with a brief biography, his early career apprenticeships at Robert Piguet and Columbia Pictures, and the struggle to start his own label. Next follows an examination of Galanos’s early successes and the structure of his business. Chapter Three “Hallmarks of Design” is an analysis of his garments held in major collecting institutions, including the James G. Galanos Archive, the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Galanos’s long-standing relationship with former First Lady Nancy Reagan is addressed in the fourth chapter, along with his other celebrity connections and elite clients. Finally, this paper examines Galanos’s retirement from the fashion world, the liquidation of his business, and his legacy in exhibitions and archives. Galanos was the “pret-a-porter couturier” of the United States, and this thesis paper will make that case that he deserves name recognition as one of the twentieth century’s greatest designers alongside his peers Marc Bohan and Hubert de Givenchy.
|School:||Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York|
|Department:||Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Fashion, Art history, Biographies|
|Keywords:||American dream, Chiffon, Designers, Ready-to-wear, Reagan, Nancy, Galanos, James|
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