Bill Cunningham, Bob Mackie, Carol Burnett, Cecil Beaton, Christine Lagerfeld, Goldstein Museum of Design, Guthrie Theater, Harper's Bazaar, Jane Greenwood, Jim Nabors, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Lorie Line, Martina Arroya, Ray Aghayan, Ray Diffen, Richard Burton, Santa Fe Opera, Shirley Verret, University of Minnesota
Jack Edwards is a career costume and fashion designer. Jack has worked in this art form since 1954. Jack began his career in New York City fashioning windows for department stores and creating millinery and fashions for private clients. Broadway called soon after and Jack spent over fifteen years working with Jane Greenwood, Ray Diffen, Cecil Beaton and Bill Cunningham.
Jack created beautiful concert gowns for opera stars Mildred Miller, Martina Arroya and Shirley Verret. Jack worked on productions with Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Richard Burton to name but a few luminaries of the stage.
Summers were spent in the 1960s working at the Santa Fe Opera. Soon after Jack worked with Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie on the Carol Burnett and Jim Nabors television shows.
In 1971 Jack was asked to join the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota to serve as Costume Director and designer. In the 18 years Jack stayed with the Guthrie he had the experience of working with every artistic director from Sir Tyrone Guthrie down to the current director, Joe Dowling. In addition, Jack created couture for private clients as well as for Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra and for the musician Prince.
AWP: Name the books and movies, works of art and music, fashion or cuisine that have inspired you.
JE: Death in Venice, Balenciaga, Cecil Beaton, “The Tales of Hoffman” at the Paris Opera, Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, Joan Seifter, Mrs. Maler, The Opera, The Ballet.
AWP: Do you have any role models?
JE: Sir Cecil Beaton, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier.
AWP: What is the last book you read?
JE: Oscar Wilde, by Frank Harris.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
AWP: What is the best (or worst) advice you’ve ever given or received?
JE: Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of bad taste — you have to get through it until you get to your own.
AWP: What handed-down wisdom did you receive from your mother or father?
JE: From my mother: Go for it — anything you want is possible.
AWP: What childhood experience has served you many times?
JE: Keep moving.
AWP: In your youth, what did you imagine your adult life would hold? What influenced this vision?
JE: Glamorous! I didn’t like the life I had as a child and thought I didn’t fit. I wanted glamour from an early age.
AWP: In your early teens, what formed your romantic fantasies of adventure and love?
AWP: What were your favorite childhood things to do?
JE: Make believe.
AWP: What nourishes your passions?
JE: Observation and experience. I never regretted what I had done only what I had not.
AWP: How did you get your foot in the door at the beginning of your career?
JE: Persistence and trying the impossible.
AWP: Was being stylish important to you growing up in your teens? Is it now?
JE: Most definitely. There is no way to separate it from my “being.”
AWP: How do you define style or fashion?
JE: Being authentic and original.
AWP: Tell me about your cooking and eating habits and traditions.
JE: Parties for friends. Healthy food but also to eat much like the French. A little of everything, never too much.
AWP: What was your most memorable meal to date?
JE: Lunch at Le Grand Vefour.
AWP: What is in your refrigerator right now?
JE: 4 bottles of Champagne, cheese, fruit, vegetables, organic lean meat, and organic juices.
ART OF LIVING:
AWP: What do you live for? What do you love above all?
JE: Experience and learning. Above all, beauty!
AWP: What natural gift would you most like to possess? What talent are you most thankful for?
JE: I would LOVE to play the piano. I’m thankful for the artistic nature of my being I have been given and the ability to find the good in all situations.
AWP: What question are you tired of being asked?
JE: I never tire from questions — If I am asked, they must want to know and I would always rather the answer come from me and not someone else or from the chatter of gossip.
You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Fashion Crashing: Paris haute-couture, by Barbara Redmond who crashed Maxime Simoëns’ haute-couture catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week with patience and persistence, but no invitation. The models, the show, the crème de la crème audience, and the style she wore.
Imperfect Perfection: The new French woman, by American writer Kristin Wood who reminds us of the words attributed to Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author and philosopher who eschewed material excess and extravagance… “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Kristin writes about the predicted trends of the “undone” makeup look, and the “de-blinging” of luxury items. What better place to introduce these two trends on a grand scale than Paris?
In search of the perfect Moroccan slipper, by American writer Lisa Rounds who tells of her adventures in the North African neighborhood of Barbès in Paris searching for the perfect slipper in red, of course, for a Cosmo photo shoot. Her story of “living the dream,” working for a publishing company in Paris.
Ballet Flats in Paris: And God made Repetto, by Barbara Redmond who shares what she got from a pair of flats purchased in a ballet store in Paris; a feline, natural style from the toes up, a simple pair of shoes that transformed her whole look. Including the vimeos “Pas de Deux Coda,” by Opening Ceremony and “Repetto,” by Repetto, Paris.
A Woman’s Paris — Elegance, Culture and Joie de Vivre
We are captivated by women and men, like you, who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre or “the art of living.” We stand in awe of what you fill into your lives. Free spirits who inspire both admiration and confidence.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)
Text copyright ©2012 Jack Edwards. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.