Bernard Newman (designer)

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Bernard Newman (18 November 1903 – 30 November 1966) was head designer for Bergdorf Goodman and head costume designer for RKO Pictures. He designed costumes for some 35 movies, including costumes for Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball and Helen Broderick. He was posthumously included in the Costume Designers Guild Hall of Fame in 2004.[1]


Bernard Newman was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1903.[2] He studied in Paris and at the Art Student's League. He started working at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury goods department store in Manhattan, as a window dresser.[1] He later became the head designer for Bergdorf Goodman,[3] and his clothes were worn by film stars like Kay Francis.[4]

Bernard Newman started working as costume designer in the film industry from 1933 on, working mainly for RKO Pictures for the next three years. Newman is best remembered for the costumes he designed for Ginger Rogers in movies like Top Hat and Swing Time.[5][6] He made a blue dress with ostrich feathers, to Rogers's specification, which she wore in the Cheek to Cheek sequence and which gave her the nickname of Feathers.[7][8] 15 of his costumes for the 1935 movie Roberta were reproduced and merchandised by the Modern Merchandising Bureau.[9] Other films he worked on include Sylvia Scarlett with Katharine Hepburn and You Can't Take It with You.[1]



  1. ^ a b c Costume Designers Guild Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. 2004 Hall of Fame
  2. ^ Leese, Elisabeth (1991). Costume design in the movies (2 ed.). Courier Dover Publications. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-486-26548-3. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Sarah Berry in Screen style: Fashion and femininity in 1930s Hollywood page 15 (2000)
  4. ^ Lynn Kear and John Rossman in Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career page 155 (2006)
  5. ^ Gregory Votolato in American Design in the Twentieth Century: Personality and Performance page 45 (1995)
  6. ^ Mueller, John (1986). Astaire Dancing - The Musical Films. London: Hamish Hamilton. p. 415. ISBN 0-241-11749-6.  notes that John Harkrider designed the Swing Time Silver Sandal Set ("Never Gonna Dance") and the costumes used both on that set and on the "Bogangles of Harlem" set
  7. ^ Turner Classic Movies on Top Hat
  8. ^ Rogers, Ginger (1991). Ginger, My Story. New York: Harper Collins. p. 143. ISBN 0-06-018308-X.  Rogers: "I designed the dress and I was going to wear it!"
  9. ^ Sarah Berry in Screen style: Fashion and femininity in 1930s Hollywood page 67-68 (2000)

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