It was the mid 1980′s and we were still based in our hometown of New Orleans. We had a great following there, as well as a strong network of stores throughout the North East. Now, we were hoping to expand into the great state of Texas.
Culturally, Texas had been a “Nirvana” of sorts for fashion designers over the past several decades. Its affluent, oil-based economy and “formal” lifestyle meant that many Texan women needed, and wanted, the kinds of clothing turned out the world’s top couture designers. Cost was not an issue.
Then in 1985 the Great Texas Oil Bust hit. Retail sales in 1985 declined for the first time ever in Texas history! Texan woman were forced to reassess their clothing budgets, and hoped to do so without compromising quality or style.
Well, necessity is the mother of invention, as they say…and that’s where MAGID BERNARD stepped in. We had recently made some pieces for the lovely Marcia Gottesman, who owned the finest childrens clothing store in Dallas (Marcia’s). She was so taken with our work that she personally made calls to Tootsie’s, Harriet Hart, and other well-known specialty stores in Texas, and before we knew it, we were selling through Tootie’s and Harriet Hart and, shortly thereafter, through Esther Wolf, Cavaletto and others! They were crazy for it! We were featured frequently in Dallas WWD Best of Group, The Houston Chronicle and other press, and we began to develop a private clientele that continues to this day.
One of the most popular pieces from that collection was the Diamond Wrap. Made of imported wool jersey, it could be belted at the waist and worn over a matching straight skirt or pants. We showed it initially in a deep, dark, gorgeous jade and ultimately in a variety of colors and fabrics. It was an instant…and long lasting….success! Another favorite was our Color Blocked dress as shown below. We offered it in jade/black or red/black combination in the front with a solid (super slimming) back. It was spectacular!
Looking back at this collection is quite satisfying to us – not only because of its tremendous financial success, but because of the quality and versatility of the clothing. These were dresses, suits and separates that truly could “take you anywhere”. I believe that if we produced these pieces today, they would sell and sell again! They are classic, yet modern; minimalist, yet detailed; feminine, but not fussy; tailored, but not boring. Timeless, investment dressing at its best!