Cashin, Bonnie

   Born in California, Cashin began her career apprenticing in her mother's dressmaking shops. From there she went on to work as a Hollywood costume designer and during 1943-1949, she was the costumer for more than 60 Hollywood films. She did not devote herself to ready-to-wear until the early 1950s. It was fashion editor Carmel Snow who encouraged Cashin to go to Seventh Avenue in New York and design for the company Adler & Adler. Cashin, who developed an interest in clothing styles from various cultures, built her collections based on timeless favorites such as ponchos, tunics, and kimonos. Additionally, Cashin was commissioned to design World War II civilian-defense uniforms. Cashin had the vision to recognize the need for lifestyle-dressing, combining ease of dress without compromising look. She developed the layering system of dress and played a key role in setting the tone for American fashion. In 1953, Cashin designed leather clothing for the company Philip Sills and brought the use of leather into the world of serious fashion. In 1962, she became the first designer for Coach and pioneered the use of the brass toggle, which she later used on clothing. Her carriers fit perfectly into the Coach philosophy; the bags packed flat, were utilitarian, and maintained a timeless sense of style. In 1985, Cashin retired from the industry and devoted her time to painting and philanthropy. She established several scholarships and educational programs at the California Institute of Technology and donated her entire archive of designs to the University of California at Los Angeles. Cashin was a five-time Coty Award winner and, together with Claire McCardell, is considered the creator of American sportswear.
   See also American look; Lord & Taylor.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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