Geoffrey Beene was one of New York's most famous fashion designers, recognized for his artistic and technical skills and for creating simple, comfortable and dressy women's wear.
He was born in 1927 in the rural town of Haynesville, Louisiana into a family of doctors. As his family wished, he pursued medicine for three years, but his real passion eventually won out. In 1947 He moved to LA where he studied fashion design at the University of Southern California. After working in the display department at the I. Magnin retail store, he continued his study of fashion in both New York and Paris.
In 1963, he founded his own firm, Geoffrey Beene, inc. in New York City and was soon awarded the Coty American Fashion Critic’s Award. Beene excelled at his minimal wool designs in the 1960's. and in the 1970’s he introduced the idea of denim and sweatshirt fabric for evening wear. He established his award-winning career with innovative cutting and draping that flattered a woman’s form. In 1982, he received his eighth Coty Award, the most awarded to any one designer. His first Geoffrey Beene retail boutique opened its doors in 1989 on Fifth Avenue.
Beene's clients included Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Faye Dunaway and Glenn Close. Faye Dunaway picked up her 1977 Oscar in Beene trousers, and Glenn Close wore a lace Beene gown at the ceremony in 1989. “He knew how to bring out the parts of your body that are great,” says Close. “His clothes are works of art.” Beene was known as both an innovator and a teacher. “He had a reverence for women: their need to be beautified and also given freedom to move,” says writer Amy Fine Collins of her friend Beene, who died Sept. 28 at 77 of pneumonia. His career in fashion design spanned over 40 years.
We are so lucky to have happened upon a Geoffrey Beene dress of our own. As you can see it mimics the neckline of his dress above. If you'd like to own a museum worthy piece, click HERE