Tula, Inc. owner Samuel Landau was born in Leeds, England in 1903 and arrived at Ellis Island in 1911.
Working as a salesman and later as a manager, in 1933 he formed Style-Craft Lingerie, Inc. and became the company’s president. The firm manufactured popular-priced silk underwear. A 1931 ad for Style-Craft lingerie slips suggests the Style-Craft name was likely used unofficially before the 1933 organization of the business. In 1934, Samuel Landau Corporation filed for the women’s underwear trademark Landette and in that year Style-Craft’s underwear comprised chemises, panties, negligees, dansettes (wider-legged “step in undies” that debuted in 1925), etc. Style-Craft also manufactured ladies’ shirts, blouses, and lingerie in 1942. It is not clear if Style-Craft was a division of Samuel Landau Corporation or if they were distinct businesses of which Samuel Landau was president.
Landau expanded his operations when he married Eva Custis in 1941. A few years later he spun out Samuel Landau Corporation’s Tula division, which heavily advertised its hostess gowns and negligees. The enthusiasm for Tula lingerie was hinted at in a 1947 newspaper that sought to recruit salesmen to promote the company’s hostess gowns and negligees in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
With the success of the Tula line, the siren song of Hollywood lured Landau to the movie and music industries. An article in a 1951 issue of Billboard magazine announced “Spinlan Music, partnered by ex-Disney professional manager Jack Spina and dress manufacturer Sam Landau, started operation last week with offices at 1650 Broadway” (the name Spinlan was almost certainly fashioned from the partners’ names).
What did the music industry have to do with Sam Landau’s fashions? His article in a July 1951 motion picture merchandising guide titled Promotion explains: “…a good motion picture tie-up adds to our gross as well as that of the producer, through the sale of more of our garments by the retailer along with the sale of more tickets by the exhibitor.” Landau presented this example: “The most successful movie promotion we had was our first, on “Anna and the King of Siam” some years ago…The picture had its premier at New York’s Radio City Music Hall late in August…The ‘Anna’ garments spearheaded our fall line…the fashions were just right; we were able to take the Siamese clothes worn by Linda Darnell and others and adapt them into commercial clothes…the price of the clothes was right in between the way-out-of-reach and the extremely cheap.” Landau further commented on the American woman’s increasing interest in simple, tailored clothes, which led him to “spend a lot of money traveling to Paris to check on the creations of such famous French designers as Jacques Fath and Christian Dior” and to make changes toward simplification and streamlining of his clothes.
Samuel Landau moved to Florida in 1992 and died at New Smyrna Beach in FL in 1998.
Written by LKRanieri