Fashion Flashback: Arnold Scaasi

 

Image courtesy of starbuzz.com

Image courtesy of starbuzz.com

Fashion Reverie looks back at the career of Arnold Scassi. Arnold Scassi passed away on Tuesday from cardiac arrest at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His French couture-like sometimes heavily embellished creations adorned the likes of Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Lauren Bacall, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, and Mamie Eisenhower.

Images courtesy of tumblr.com

Images courtesy of tumblr.com

Telling the Associated Press during an exhibit of his collections at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, “Fashion, it’s really about feeling good … it should be fun to get dressed. I like exciting and pretty clothes that help women feel exciting and pretty.’’

For over 50 years Scassi—his last name Issac spelled backwards—made a lot of women feel good; particularly, his celebrity and socialite client base. After training in Montreal and Paris, Scaasi worked briefly for famed American evening wear designer Charles James before launching his own ready-to-wear business in 1956.

Image courtesy of shopify.com

Image courtesy of shopify.com

Because Scaasi never designed for the ready-to-wear mass market, he was less of a household name than some of his contemporaries. Though he did sell in high-end, ready-to-wear department stores, Scaasi is best known for some of his red-carpet creations for major film stars and celebrities. Scassi most famous ensemble was the translucent black lace pantsuit worn by Barbra Streisand at the 1969 Academy Awards.

Collages285In 1996 Scassi was honored by the CFDA with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2004 he published his memoir Women I Have Dressed and (Undressed). In his memoir he described some of the things he designed for Elizabeth Taylor, ‘‘a spectacular white satin ball gown with a rhinestone design of arches over the entire dress . . . a long black velvet cape to go over it—it was fab . . . a coral and turquoise petunia printed silk short dress with a cape coat in turquoise cashmere . . . a beautiful short black chiffon number that was totally covered in tiny leaves and flowers with diamante clusters.’’

Image courtesy of img.com

Image courtesy of img.com

Mr. Scassi is survived by his partner, Parker Ladd. Arnold Scaasi was 85 years old.

—Staff

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