|Born||Samuel Albert Bozeman, Jr
August 30, 1927
|Died||September 28, 2004 (age 77)
New York, New York
|Relative(s)||Barbara Ann Wellman|
|Industry||Clothing, Eyewear, and Formal wear|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
|Key people||Geoffrey Beene and G. Thompson Hutton|
|Products||Clothes, fragrance, formal wear, sunglasses, eyewear, jewelry, luggage|
Geoffrey Beene (born Samuel Albert Bozeman, Jr., August 30, 1927 – September 28, 2004) was an American fashion designer. 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.
Early life and education
Beene was born on August 30, 1927 in the small rural town of Haynesville, Louisiana located just south of the Arkansas state line. He was born into a family of doctors and was encouraged to follow in their footsteps. He studied medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans but dropped out in 1946, after only three years of study. Beene moved to Los Angeles, where he studied fashion design at the University of Southern California and worked in the display department of the I. Magnin retail store until 1947. He moved to New York City later that year to attend the Traphagen School of Fashion. Afterward he moved to Paris, where he attended the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne (ECSCP) and the couture house of Molyneux. In 1949, he returned to New York and was hired on as Assistant Designer at the Seventh Avenue house of Harmay. In 1958 he left Harmay to work for Teal Traina and from there went on to open up his own design house.
In 1963, he started his own company, Geoffrey Beene, Inc. in New York City in partnership with Leo Orlandi from Teal Traina with a showroom located on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. A year later, he was awarded the Coty American Fashion Critics' Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of fashion, after just one year in business. His first collection made the cover of Vogue Magazine.
By the mid-1970s, Beene had a number of licensing agreements for products such as eyeglasses and bed sheets. The Beene Bag line of women’s wear, introduced in 1971, used the same silhouettes as his couture line. In his 1970 collection, he applied the use of inexpensive fabrics such as sweatshirt and denim fabric for evening dresses. In 1976, Beene became the first American designer to show in Milan, Italy. This success led to his sixth Coty Award in 1977, for giving impetus to American fashion abroad. In 1982, Geoffrey Beene received his eighth Coty Award; the most awarded to any one designer as of the early 2000s.
He was named Designer of the Year in 1986 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Two years later, the Council of Fashion Designers of America gave Beene a newly created award, the Special Award for Fashion as Art. In 1989, he opened the first Geoffrey Beene retail shop on Fifth Avenue.
His clients included such notables as Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Faye Dunaway and Glenn Close. Beene was known as both an innovator and a teacher. Several of his former apprentices, Kay Unger, Alber Elbaz and Doo Ri Chung are now successful fashion designers, thanks to his early guidance in their respective careers.
In honor of Beene’s fashion legacy, the Council of Fashion Designers of America created the annual Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award in 1984.
- Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
|1989||Oscar De La Renta|
|1999||Yves Saint Laurent|
|2005||Diane von Furstenberg|
|2007||Robert Lee Morris|
All net profits from Geoffrey Beene products are donated to philanthropic causes, such as cancer research, Alzheimer's research, domestic violence prevention and response, Save the Children, and educational programs, including scholarships for students majoring in fashion and related disciplines.
In 2007, The Geoffrey Beene Foundation formed a strategic alliance with the FSF YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund to further the mutual goal of expanding support for students seeking careers in the Fashion Industry. The foundation has donated to the FSF in excess of $3.6 million, out of approximately $4.1 million committed through 2014.
- "Geoffrey Beene Biography". Infoplease.com.
- "Geoffrey Beene fashion designer".
- "Designer Geoffrey Beene dead at 77". NBC's Today show.
- "Geoffrey Beene: 1927-2004 - Death, Fashion Designers and Stylists". People Magazine.
- "CFDA Fashion Awards". Council of Fashion Designers of America.
- "Haynesville, Louisiana".
- "Geoffrey Beene website".
- Official Company Site
- Geoffrey Beene at the Fashion Model Directory
- Sewing patterns by Geoffrey Beene
- American Ingenuity: Sportswear 1930s-1970s, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Geoffrey Beene (see index)