Fashion Group International, ‘Clotheslines’, and the University of Fashion!
MaryLou Luther, the famous fashion writer and the University of Fashion are friends, thanks to their longstanding membership to Fashion Group International. Some of you may be asking yourselves , ‘Who is MaryLou Luther?’ or ‘What is Clothesline?’ We are here to inform you of MaryLou’s illustrious history within the fashion industry in addition to her latest projects and involvement with Fashion Group International and the University of Fashion. Where to begin? Let’s start with MaryLou.
Luther’s “Clotheslines” column has appeared in The Plain Dealer’s style section of the New York Times magazine since the 1980s, and is known by designers, fashion writers, and the fashion curious for her duration in the business, her extensive understanding of the industry, and notably, her kind disposition.
Luther first studied journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and then went on to work for the Lincoln Journal, then to the Des Moines Register. It was in Des Moines, of all places, that she received her ‘big break’; she was assigned to the style beat. By 1957, she was at the Chicago Tribune; an up-and-coming fashion reporter interviewing Christian Dior! When Yves Saint Laurent debuted his first collection for Christian Dior in January 1958, Marylou Luther was there. She met Coco Chanel. Does fashion journalism get any better than that?!? Well, in 1968, Luther was hired to be the Los Angeles Times’ fashion editor, so she and her husband moved to Beverly Hills and quickly befriended Edith Head, the legendary Hollywood costume designer. I don’t think it gets better than that!
By 1985, Luther and her husband decided to return to Manhattan where she became a syndicated columnist and creative director for Fashion Group International, for which she covers the New York, Paris and Milan ready-to-wear shows and puts together bi-yearly narrated films and informative packages each year revolving around key runway trends.
Fashion Group International began in 1928 when 17 women, led by Edna Woolman Chase, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, ‘met for lunch in a modest midtown New York restaurant…united in belief that fashion needed a forum, a stage, or a force to express and enhance a widening awareness of the American fashion business and of women’s roles in that business’. Some of those Founding and Charter members were: Elizabeth Arden, Margaret Case, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helena Rubinstein, Julia Coburn, Lilly Dache, Jessica Daves, Nan Duskin, Edith Head, Eleanor LeMaire, Claire McCardell, Clare Potter, Virginia Pope, Dorothy Shaver, Adele Simpson, Carmel Snow, and Miss Tobé.
So, we’ve covered MaryLou’s fabulous career, and a bit about Fashion Group International, but did you know our own Francesca Sterlacci is also a member?
Well, Francesca has been a member of FGI since 1975, has utilized their extensive image library for all of the books that she has written: Leather Apparel Design, The Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, The A-Z of the Fashion Industry and Leather Fashion Design. To quoteFrancesca, “the FGI library is a fashion treasure trove and one of the best kept secrets
in the industry. Make a date, sit in their library, and take a fashionable stroll down memory lane. Their collection of slides and prints, dating back to the the 1940s, will awe and inspire! It is the perfect research tool for designers or anyone who is seriously interested in the fashion industry.” In regards to her fellow FGI member MaryLou, Francesca for years, has attended her bi-annually collection presentations and now catches up on ‘Clotheslines’. According to Francesca, “MaryLou’s wit, style, great eye for fashion, and spot-on trend analysis make her THE person to go to for what is happening in fashion!”
Social Media Director, University of Fashion