Alice of California was founded in 1925 by Krist Gudnason, an orphan from Iceland who worked on a fishing boat for three years before “jumping ship” and escaping to Norway, where he did well as a door-to-door salesman. He immigrated to the US and arrived in New York without a dime to his name. He then made his way to the West Coast, sold dead stock from a dry goods house in Portland, Oregon, and eventually moved to Los Angeles where he started his own Lady Alice Dresses in 1925. Shortly thereafter, the Lil’ Alice label was added.
In the 1930s Carolyn Perena became lead designer at Alice, defining a new resort look reflecting her love of exotic prints and According to California Stylist magazine, “her allegiance to four basic standards: Colorful, casual, comfortable and Californian.” By 1947 Gunderson opened a four-story factory at a new industrial park in San Francisco.
In the early 1960s, the Lady Alice and Lil’ Alice lines were discontinued, and the Alice, Alice Polynesian and Krist lines replaced them.
See Also: Krist
Written by Mary Catherine Lamb