Kiviette (given name Yetta Schminsky) was a leading Broadway costume designer from the late teens until the late 40s who created the costumes for at least 45 productions (including more than one featuring Fred and Adele Astaire). She would design hats and shoes as well as the costumes they accompanied, sketching and watercoloring the designs for her studio to produce, and supervise the purchase of (readymade) lingerie and stockings.
Stylish New York City women had their dressmakers copy Kiviette’s stage designs (apparently this was the chief reason many of them attended Broadway shows!), and Kiviette created exclusive one off designs for high society women as well. In the 1930s she opened a ready-to-wear business that focused on evening gowns and sportswear, and participated through the 1940s in major NY-based fashion events like “Fashions of the Times” along with designers like Bonnie Cashin, Claire McCardell and Norman Norell.
In 1948, in an early example of a commercial “tie in”, a costume she created for her final Broadway production, “Light up the Sky”, was produced for sale at Bergdorf Goodman, and in 1956—at the very end of her career—she designed the gown for Miss America.
Written by cmpollack