gifted designer from the big apple, geoffrey beene, was born in 1924 in louisiana. with a family full of doctors, he was expected to become a doctor as well; but his career took a sharp turn and he became a fashion designer. beene is known in the fashion industry for taking an innovative approach to designing womenswear. Nicknamed the “godfather of minimalism” for his non-stereotypical approach to haute couture design, he studied at New York’s Traphagen School of Fashion. He then moved to Paris to study at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
well versed in the art of tailoring, he got his first job in 1951 in new york as a shop designer at the sherry-netherland hotel but was soon laid off. He moved to find a job in the New York Garment District and worked as a womenswear designer at Teal Traina until 1963. By the end of the year, Bee had found his lucky break and established his own company, which was very unlikely in time for American designers. He soon caught the eye of designers and the media alike at the Seventh Avenue Fair, where his designs were highly praised. Geoffrey designed a wedding dress for Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter in 1967, which was not one of his best works, and he decided to take his career a step further by making dangerously minimalist outfits. His outfits soon became the talk of the town and Geoffrey had become a household name to America’s rich and famous.
She typically experimented with very different stitches and materials, such as denim, for her evening wear. Geoffrey launched his second line, the Bee Bag, in 1974 and is one of the first American designers to showcase his work at Milan Fashion Week. Even though he had unsurpassed skills, he somehow never reached the zenith of financial success due to his continuous feud with women’s clothing every day. It all started when Been refused to elaborate on the wedding dress he was designing for Linda B. Johnson’s daughter Despite the fact that the two were at odds, Been’s fashion shows in the 1980s were attended by many notable names in the fashion industry. Geoffrey’s company got much of its funding from his popular men’s fragrance called gray flannel.
Beene’s work began to become more contemporary and minimalist by the day and became an inspiration to many modern American designers at the time. In 1989, Fifth Avenue became home to Geoffrey’s first boutique. the godfather of minimalist fashion has managed to win many awards for producing outstanding work throughout his career. He was the winner of many Coty Awards and won four Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. he also received a lifetime achievement award.
geoffrey’s clothing was highly appreciated by his loyal fans pat nixon, faye dunaway, glenn close, nancy reagan and lady bird johnson. been was not only an inspiration to many, but also a teacher. kay unger, doo ri chung and alber elbaz were Been trainees who made it big in the fashion industry. her illustrious forty-year career came to an end with his death on September 24, 2004 from pneumonia; one of the complications of cancer. The Council of Fashion Designers of America has created the annual Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award to honor Been’s legacy.
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