Monday, August 15, 2016

chatting with one of the greats... STAN HERMAN..



With the next New York fashion week in the very near future, I felt that now was the time to remind some and alert others about those who built the foundation of what we experience today. Though today’s version is not exactly as it was or intended to be, there is one thing that still remains and that it New York City houses and was home to  some of the world’s greatest design talents. With that in mind, today it is about Stan Herman. If you don’t know the name, then you best read and then delve deeper into the life and times of this living legend of fashion.
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At one time, somewhere around the mid to late 60s, designers came out from the backrooms (behind the showrooms) on Seventh Avenue and became personalities in their own right. Designers such as Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Leo Narducci, Donald Brooks and yes, Stan Herman, are a few of the names come to mind and fit the bill. They were employed by labels which hitherto never had a marquee designer attached to the label. My personal memory of Stan came from his tenure at Mr. Mort from the ads in Vogue, Bazaar and the New York Times with its ads from major department stores.  By the way, if none of these names are familiar to you, then please do not refer to yourself as a fashionphile or even an aficionado. These names were the dawning, and in many ways the foundation, of a burgeoning industry in New York City.  Up until this time, and with the emergence of such “upstarts,” fashion in NYC was no longer taking a back seat to Paris and other international fashion capitals. 

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Stan Herman is one of the originals and is one of the most enduring personalities that Seventh Avenue has ever produced. Very few designers can boast careers that span more than half a century, very few have accomplished what this man has and the likelihood of anyone even coming close to him is slim to none. Today we are conditioned and accustomed to the so called creative directors who have legions of designers and staff who do everything so that they can just point and opine. When Stan was hitting his stride and it was he who was doing almost everything … well, a lot of it anyway. Don’t get me wrong, yes there was staff, but nowhere near what it takes today to create a mega brand. In essence, it was a time when designers designed and they actually possessed amazing talents, vision and skillsets that more than likely knew no bounds. BTW, they rarely moaned about how hard they worked! ... a little aside ... you listening Raf?? Alber??

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Imagine a time when a brand was judged on a designer’s design prowess and not hype, meaning there was no blah blah blah and there was only product which spoke for itself and spoke to its clientele. Stan Herman was a prescient designer who saw what was going to happen way before it even was conceived of. Mr. Herman has designed every classification of apparel as well as uniforms for some of the most well recognized names/brands in the world of business. He has given selflessly to a business that has brought him prosperity and fame and yet 
 Stan Herman is one of the humblest, kindest and most respected men you will ever meet. To be honest, there aren’t many who live up to those words or his reputation amongst his peers and for those qualities alone, the man should be saluted and honored in a business that eats people alive, eats their young, turns the talentless into stars and then kicks them all to the curb. He has withstood the test of time and defied the odds of a fickle and often cruel business by remaining very much a vibrant participant and presence within the sphere of fashion to this day.

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 So, now, it’s my turn to salute and praise Stan Herman and as he speaks to us in his own words.




JF-If there was one moment in your career that you would want to “freeze frame,” what would it be and why?

SH-It would have been the moment that I was interviewed at the 92 Y in the Fashion Icons series, when facing my peers, I felt the shock of complete acceptance and love. These highs aren't usually a part of growing older, but in this case, it summed up a long and very happy career.

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JF-If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?


SH-Well for sure my first guest would be Gene Horowitz, my late lover of 40 years. To his left would be my Mother , who he never met, she died much too young, but since he was left-handed and she was right handed , there would have been an immediate connection .To her left, would be President Obama to show her how much life has changed in the past 70 years. To his left would be Mrs. Peterson, my 10th grade teacher who forced me to start taking life seriously .Sitting at her feet would be my dog, Mozart the standard poodle that held me together in my hardest times




JF-Can you speak to the current state of fashion?

SH-FLUX !!!!  Designers? BRANDERS, Trends? Circular. Media? Voracious, Likes? All the possibilities, Loathes? The hierarchy's alphabet soup … How would you change it? …. I wouldn't assume I had that power!

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JF-What is “the fuel that drives the engine” that is Stan Herman? Your inspirations? Your fears? Your modus operandi?

SH-The need for respect, the wonder of the world and the fear of failure; but all take second place behind the joy of sketching and seeing that sketch come to life.

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JF-What is your advice to young and future designers entering the world of fashion?

SH-If the talent comes naturally, make sure you learn how to harness that talent. Your best friend will always be yourself; don’t dissipate yourself by looking for answers in other places. It's a tough business, but those of us who have the DNA are motivated toward it. Good Luck!

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*** Special thanks to Stan for sharing his personal photo archive and to Jeffrey Banks for making this happen… my undying thanks to both for believing in what I do

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