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Edith Flagg

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Edith Flagg
Born Edith Feuerstein
November 1, 1919
Vienna, Austria
Died August 13, 2014
Century City, Los Angeles, California
Residence Avenue of the Stars, Century City, Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Occupation Fashion designer, businesswoman, television personality, philanthropist
  • Hans Stein (died 1944)
  • Eric Flagg (died 1999)
Children Michael Hans Flagg
Relatives Josh Flagg (grandson)

Edith Flagg (née Feuerstein; November 1, 1919 – August 13, 2014) was an American fashion designer, fashion industry executive, and philanthropist. She was the first designer to import polyester as a fashion textile to America.[1][2] In her later life, Flagg became known for her re-occurring role on the Bravo television program Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles with her grandson Josh Flagg.[3][4]

Early life

Edith Flagg was born Edith Feuerstein on November 1, 1919 in Vienna, Austria. She was raised in Galați, Romania, where her father worked as a photographer. At the age of 15 she returned to Vienna to study fashion and lived in Austria through her teenage years.[3] When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, she fled to the Netherlands with her boyfriend Hans Stein.[1]

She married Hans Stein after they moved to the Netherlands in 1938.[1] Instead of leaving the Netherlands after the German invasion, Flagg took the identity of the deceased Lydia Voskuilen.[3] When she became pregnant with her son Michael, she hid the child in a sanitarium and posed as a nurse in order to visit him.[5] Hans Stein was captured by Germans and sent to Auschwitz where he died in 1944.[3]

After Stein's death, Flagg worked within the Dutch underground resistance where she met her second husband Eric Flagg, and at the end of the war they married.[5] [6] Together they were responsible for saving several lives. She acted as a spy, swimming with Nazi soldiers and relaying what she overheard.[3] Flagg reportedly killed two Nazis.[5][7]Eric then moved to the United States and Edith and Michael lived on a kibbutz in Palestine, what would soon become Israel. Edith and Michael followed Eric to the United States and while Eric worked in New York, Edith and Michael moved to San Francisco and lived with Hans' parents. Edith, Eric and Michael then moved to Los Angeles in 1949.[8][5][9]


Flagg started her career after arriving in New York in 1948 as a seamstress, progressing to design, then later in Los Angeles, California working in the Garment District. She began her first line of dresses in 1956 with a $2,000 investment of her own savings.[9] Her clothing-line "Edith Flagg, Inc." (1956–2000) manufactured in the United States from the 1950s until her retirement from the fashion industry in 2000. The brand was characterized by its wrinkle-resistant knitwear.[10] As of 2012, the company reportedly afforded her a net worth of $100 million.[1]

Flagg was the first person to import polyester to the United States and popularize it. She discovered a type of polyester called Crimplene which was being produced by Imperial Chemical Industries out of Leeds, England. The material was used for parachutes and military uniforms during World War II, resulting in a post-war surplus.[3] Flagg found the new fabric while vacationing in Switzerland in the 1960s. She signed an exclusive advertising contract with DuPont to import Crimplene from England and popularize under the name polyester.[1][4] She also imported the synthetic fabric Dacron.[1][2][3][11] Edith Flagg, Inc. expanded from a successful dress manufacturing company in Los Angeles to an international design house with offices and showrooms in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Charlotte and London, as well as a factory in Hong Kong.[9]

She was an active contributor to California Apparel News and Women's Wear Daily in a weekly column titled "By the Way."[1] Later, she often appeared on the television show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles to offer business advice to her grandson, Josh Flagg. When Josh was fourteen, he wrote A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me, a book about her survival during World War II and her career. The book was published in 2009, prior to the show.[12][13]


She was a donor to the United Jewish Welfare Fund, a Jewish non-profit organization, and the City of Hope, a private hospital in California.[5]

Flagg retired in 2000 to concentrate on her philanthropy, focusing on Jewish and medical causes.[1] She was a donor to the United Jewish Welfare Fund, a Jewish non-profit organization, and the City of Hope, a private hospital in California of which she and her husband were also board members.[5][14] Proceeds from her biography A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me were donated to the Jewish Federation.[13] Flagg and her husband were the recipients of multiple awards from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and The United Jewish Welfare Fund.[15]

Personal life

Flagg spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, Romanian, English, French, German and Dutch.[3] She resided in a penthouse in The Century Towers on the Avenue of the Stars, Century City in Los Angeles, which she and her husband purchased from Jack Benny in 1976 for the highest price recorded for a condominium in Los Angeles up to that date.[3][16]


She died on August 13, 2014 in her penthouse in Century City of natural causes.[1][5] [17] She was ninety-four years old.[16] She was buried at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Culver City, California, and the reception took place at the Hillcrest Country Club.[5]

Further reading

Note: listed in chronological order

  • "Edith Flagg's Reason-Why: To Design Clothes for the Average Customer's Budget" Virginia Scallon, California Apparel News, Friday Jan 3 1969 page 26.
  • "Flagg-Waiving" Women's Wear Daily, Monday October 23, 1967.
  • Women's Wear Daily, Tues Feb 13 1968 p 21.
  • Harry & Sidney Arkin Buying Office April 18, 1968 Edith Flagg: Never Forgets the Customer, First to Introduce Polyester Knits
  • California Apparel News Fri Jan 3 1969
  • Women's Wear Daily sec 2 wed jan 6 1971 "Edith Flagg—First American Woman to Use Polyester".
  • City of Hope Pilot Magazine 1972—"Flagg elected to board of directors for City of Hope".
  • Fashionweek p 17 March 27, 1972—Flagg Merchant's Club president for 3 years.
  • California Apparel News, December 20, 1974.
  • "DIALOGUE with Eric and Edith Flagg-- Barbara Freidman, Managing Editor CALIFORNIA APPAREL NEWS PAGE 17 FRIDAY MARCH 23 1975.
  • Beverly Hills Courier January 9, 1976-- "Flagg, nationally prominent apparel manufacturer, active in the Dutch Underground--Flagg is the new chair of the Committee on Ideology of the City of Hope's Board of Directors.
  • Edith Flagg: Celebrating 20 years of Success California Apparel News page 9 Friday June 11, 1976.
  • Jewish Federation Council Bulletin July 7, 1980.
  • Jewish Federation Council Bulletin March 2, 1981.
  • California Apparel News March 20, 1981 p. 16.
  • California Apparel News April 3, 1981 p. 22.
  • California Apparel News, "By the Way" May 15, 1981.
  • Los Angeles Jewish Community Bulletin Nov 23 1981 vol 23 no 22.
  • "By the Way" by Edith Flagg Aug 13 1982 vol 38 no 33.
  • Los Angeles Jewish Community Bulletin sep 27 1982 vol 24 no 18.
  • United Jewish Fund Campaign Update; The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles-, June 1985.
  • United Jewish Fund "Campaign Update" The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, front page August 8, 1985.
  • Jewish Federation Council/ United Jewish Fund "Update" paper Feb. 27, 1986 -- "Flegenheimer, Fenstra, Flagg: Soldier Without a Uniform".
  • Century City News, March 18, 1986.
  • Beverly Hills Courier Nov 15 2002 page 9 re: Cindy Flagg Cedars Sinai.
  • Beverly Hills 213 Nov 20 2002 vol 20, number 46 page 21 re Cindy Flagg Cedars Sinai.
  • BeverlyHills Courier June 4, 2004 front page re: Cindy Flagg Cedars-Sinai.
  • Beverly Hills Courier Nov 19 2004 re: CIndy Flagg Cedars Sinai p18.
  • Beverly Hills Courier June 2, 2006 re: Cindy Flagg Cedars-Sinai.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i David Colker (August 17, 2014). "Edith Flagg dies at 94; L.A. designer helped popularize polyester". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Dave Lackie (August 22, 2014). ""A place in the sun; Forget the realtor's gold jacket - Dave Lackie meets Josh Flagg, an agent known as much for clothes as closing deals"". Weekend Post. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shirley Halperin (August 20, 2012). "An Evening With 'Million Dollar Listing' 's Grandma Flagg". Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ a b "Edith Flagg". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Victoria Talbot, 'Edith Flagg, Fashion Pioneer and Philanthropist, Dead at 94', The Beverly Hills Courier, August 22, 2014, Volume XXXXVIIII, Number 34, pp. 4;18 [1]
  6. ^
  7. ^ Lauren Weigle (October 29, 2014). "Edith Flagg, Josh Flagg's Grandmother: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy, Inc. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Kaelan Hollon. "Trailblazer – Edith Flagg". CAKE&WHISKEY. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ Evelyn Mazuran (November 21, 1968). "Spring has Many Looks". The Deseret News. 
  11. ^ Julie Byrne (October 14, 1965). "Clotheshorse in the Jet Age". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ Ashley Baylen (August 20, 2012). "Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles - Josh Flagg". Shalom Life. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Authors Corner: Josh Flagg Dishes On His New Book A Simple Girl". The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. September 25, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Flagg elected to board of directors for City of Hope". City of Hope Pilot Magazine. 1972. 
  15. ^ "About "Eric Flagg"". Real Integrity Co., Ltd. January 20, 2012. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Erin Weinger, Edith Flagg, 'Million Dollar Listing' Grandma, Dies at 94, The Hollywood Reporter, August 13, 2014
  17. ^