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Ben Zuckerman & Henry Shacter

Tailor Ben Zuckerman (WWD called him "America's Balenciaga") pulled over at a New Jersey gas station, fell in love with the young man pumping the gas and drove away with him. The attractive grease monkey was a boxer between bouts named Harry Schacter. Ben taught him a little about fashion, made him his designing partner and the two gentlemen prospered as a happy couple. (P: From the Palm Beach Journal, January 1965, Ben Zuckerman, Dean of American Fashion, relaxes before he shows his Spring and Summer collection at Martha's, the high end boutique in Palm Beach. Mr Zuckerman had some interesting observations on the state of fashion in 1965. 'I like some of the kooky clothes.' he said, 'They're cute on the girls they are designed for, but they're not for the ladies. I only make lady clothes.' Zuckerman stated as well that he preferred to create for the 'tailored woman' rather than the 'soft romantic'. After 40 years in the business he was still attracting new customers, who often placed orders of over $60,000 a season. One store alone sold over half a million dollars each year of Ben Zuckerman dresses, suits and coats.)

Known as the Master Tailor of Seventh Avenue, Ben Zuckerman was that unique combination of owner and designer. He was a major influence in leading American women toward more dramatic and colorful coats and suits. Zuckerman closed his company in 1968, and died on August 9, 1979 at age 89.

The average wage for Americans in 1958 was $4650, and Ben Zuckerman's outfits, orginally priced around $535 represented about 12% of the average wage earner's yearly income. Ben Zuckerman clothing would have been out of the reach of most Americans.


Ben Zuckerman suit, from the 1960's in a grey checked wool with scalloped pockets and a satin bow at the neck in a complimentary colour.
Ben Zuckerman immigrated to America from Romania to live and work in New York’s garment district. Around 1950 he pulled over at a New Jersey gas station, fell in love with the young man pumping the gas and drove away with him. The attractive grease monkey was a boxer between bouts named Harry Shacter. Ben taught him a little about fashion, made him his designing partner and the two men prospered as a happy couple. Known as the Master Tailor of Seventh Avenue, Ben Zuckerman was that unique combination of owner and designer.



From Harper's Bazaar, 1959, Ben Zuckerman dress and coat photographed by Richard Avedon. This Zuckerman outfit is made of a substantial wool in a pale colour, perhaps cream or pink. The dress is Empire style, with a belt just below the bust.


Ben Zuckerman coat that Princess Grace of Monaco wore when she arrived in Monaco to marry Prince Rainier. Unusually, Princess Grace did not commission a one-of-a-kind outfit for her arrival in Monaco, rather she bought this outfit 'off the rack'. (http://vintagebenzuckerman.blogspot.it/)


Ben Zuckerman coat- probably from the mid 1960's, in white matelassé trimmed in white fur- likely mink. As is usual during this time period, the accessories, including the gloves and hat match perfectly.


From Vogue, 1 September, 1962, Ben Zuckerman coat in pale blue wool with a funnel like collar. Also seen is a hat by Halston. This issue of Vogue is well known as the 'Last Sitting' issue- featuring the last photographs of Marilyn Monroe, taken by Bert Stern, before her untimely death that previous June. The cover photo was taken by Art Kane (1925-1995).


Ben Zuckerman suit, dating from 1955, in a dark wool, perhaps navy or black. The jacket nips at the waist and has a bow tie at the neck. There is a wonderful white blouse underneath.


From the Palm Beach Journal, January 1965, a pale coloured Ben Zuckerman suit. This suit was worn at the Everglades Club Tombola luncheon fashion show, sponsored by Martha's, the high end boutique in Palm Beach, Florida. Ben Zuckerman was the guest of honour, and was going to show his Spring and Summer collection. Also in attendance was Eugenia Sheppard, fashion editor from the New York Herald Tribune. She was there to present the Martha Award to Mr Zuckerman for his outstanding contribution to fashion.


From 1948, a Zuckerman and Kraus Original.
Full and floor length coat, would have been worn over a ball gown. It is trimmed in fur and has a shawl collar.


Ben Zuckerman suit from 1954 modelled by Nancy Berg.


Ben Zuckerman picture, probably from the mid 1950's. The model is wearing a chocolate brown wool suit with a huge fur collar, likely fox. Her hat perfectly matches her outfit and her gloves are a pale tan.



An tie-in advertisement from American Airlines and various prominent American fashion designers, including Ben Zuckerman.
'Fashionable arrrivals via American Airline's Astrojet: Lauren and Bob, young fashionables on visit to New York- the capital of fashion. She in a Ben Zuckerman coat and dress ensemble of pale blue wool. He in a crombie coat, tailored by Hart Schaffner & Marx.
Patty Poulsen, 'Queen of World Stewardesses' in her new, very American red, white and blue uniform by Hart Schaffner & Marx. Great look. Great fashion. And proudly wearing the label of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union- the symbol of progress.
Patty Poulsen, who played Joan, one of the stewardesses in the 1970 movie "Airport", was an actual stewardess for American Airlines. She was the winner of a stewardess beauty contest in which one of the prizes was a role in this film. She was also used heavily in American Airlines advertising of its new uniforms during the mid to late 1960s, photos that have, more recently, appeared in several different coffee table books celebrating the history of the airline hostess.

Jacqueline Kennedy, as first lady, was a customer of Ben Zuckerman. Hamish Bowles, in a Vogue article states that:

Despite the thoroughly American feeling of her clothes, at times she (JK) included copies of Givenchy originals in her line. The Romanian-born Zuckerman was a fashion-industry stalwart working with his designer, Henry Shacter, to produce “the only clothes made in America that look as though Dior or Balenciaga made them.” It was Zuckerman’s line-for-line copy of a Pierre Cardin coat in purple wool that Jacqueline Kennedy had at first decided to wear for the Inauguration Day ceremonies (she wore it instead to tour the White House with Mamie Eisenhower).

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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