Oct 31, 2016
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Design veteran James Galanos dies aged 92

Oct 31, 2016

James Galanos -- U.S. fashion legend and a designer favourite of First Lady Nancy Reagan -- passed away in his home in West Hollywood from natural causes. He was 92 years old.

James Galanos pinning fabric onto dress form dummy, California 1954 - Alan Grant

Fellow designer and friend, Ralph Rucci confirmed Galanos' death to media on Sunday. Philadelphia-born Galanos shot to fame when Nancy Reagan, a loyal client, became First Lady in the eighties, where she often wore his clothing to official events including her husband's inauguration.

Born in 1924, Galanos began sketching from a young age before attending Traphagen School of Fashion for a short stint. Galanos left to pursue work experience and continued to sell his sketches as a freelancer.

In the forties, Galanos was hired to make clothes for the wife of textile mogul, Lawrence Lesavoy. After the Lesavoy divorce, he stayed in Hollywood and sketched costumes for Columbia Pictures under artist Jean Louis.

Back working with Lesovoy, he missioned to Paris as design assistant to Robert Piguet, rubbing shoulders with fellow upstarts Pierre Balmain, Hubert de Givenchy, and Marc Bohan.

He returned to the U.S. in 1948, and to Los Angeles in 1951, and founded his namesake clothing line, Galanos Originals. The brand was recruited Neiman Marcus and Saks targeting wealthy, working women.

In the fifties, Galanos started making film costumes, dressing starlets like Judy Garland and Diana Ross. Other famous customers over his lengthy career include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Grace Kelly, Dorothy Lamour, Ivana Trump. and Kim Basinger.

Galanos retired in 1998, aged 74.

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