Marguerite Rubel was born in Spencer, Iowa in 1925 & was brought up on a farm during the Depression. While she was still in grade school she made clothing for her family & friends out of grain & flour sacks; a favorite was a sack dress with a braided twine belt.
After high school she moved to Omaha, Nebraska where she built airplanes & trained as a pilot. She moved to San Francisco to join the Womans Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASPS). But she was too young to join so she worked as a waitress, modeled clothing & also owned a small grocery.
She attended school to learn pattern making & began sewing for friends. In 1945 San Francisco hosted the founding of the UN & she made raincoats for some of the attendees. They were a hit & this proved to be the beginning of her professional career.
She founded Marguerite Rubel Manufacturing in the late 1940s, which specialized in coats & jackets. Her outerwear was carried at Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Joseph Magnin & I. Magnin. Her raincoats were noted for not looking like raincoats as they were more fashionable than the normal raincoat.
Her most famous garment may have been the Map Jacket, which featured a wraparound graphic of the world. President Bush wore one en route to a summit meeting in 1991.
She died in 2010 and at the time was the oldest surviving member of San Francisco Fashion Industries, which was established in 1920.
Written by thespectrum