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One of New York’s most exclusive department stores, Bergdorf’s was established in 1899 when Edwin Goodman (1876-1953) went to work for Herman Bergdorf, a working tailor. In 1901 Goodman bought in and became a partner, renaming the business Bergdorf Goodman. Two years later in 1903, Goodman bought out Bergdorf, but left the name unchanged. The business changed locations in 1914 moving to its present address at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue 1928. In the 1923 the store expanded to include ready-to-wear and their famous fur salon. Custom clothing and millinery continued to be a huge draw for many decades and Bergdorf’s was well known for the custom salon with it’s made to order line for line copies of French couture, down to the buttons and trims which could cost more than the Paris originals. This was the salon where Ethel Frankau reigned as the director and top buyer for 50+ years from 1914 – 1967, staying on at Bergdorf’s until her death in 1971.

Additional house labels include the Miss Bergdorf line starting in the 1950s and Bigi at Bergdorf’s a junior line from 1966 on.

From FIT:
https://atom-sparc.fitnyc.edu/bergdorf-goodman-custom-salon-sketches-1930-1969-2

“The Bergdorf Goodman Custom Salon sketches collection contains 8,976 pencil, ink, and watercolor sketches by staff artists representing clothing and millinery available in Bergdorf’s custom salon. These garments were made to order either from designs purchased by special arrangement from the leading couturiers of the day or from sketches by Bergdorf’s then well known in-house designers. Representative designers include Dior, Balenciaga, Halston and Courreges. House designers include Leslie Morris, Mary Gleason, and Bernard Newman.”

Andrew Goodman, (1907-1993), took over in 1951, and stayed with the company until 1975. In 1972 Bergdorf Goodman was sold to Carter Hawley Hale Store. In 1987, Bergdorf Goodman was spun off as part of the Neiman Marcus Group. Today, Bergdorf Goodman Inc. is still located only in New York, at Fifth Ave between 57th and 58th Streets. The men’s division, founded in 1990, is on the east side of Fifth.

Written by Hollis Jenkins-Evans


from a 1920s coat.  (label dates to between 1914-1928 when the store was located at 616 Fifth Avenue) - Courtesy of lucybelle

from a 1920s coat. (label dates to between 1914-1928 when the store was located at 616 Fifth Avenue)

Courtesy of lucybelle

from a late-1930s satin cape - Courtesy of Marylong Vintage

from a late-1930s satin cape

Courtesy of Marylong Vintage

from a 1940s wedding gown - Courtesy of claireshaeffer

from a 1940s wedding gown

Courtesy of claireshaeffer

from a 1950s opera coat - Courtesy of thevintagepeddler

from a 1950s opera coat

Courtesy of thevintagepeddler

from a 1950s bedjacket - Courtesy of bigchief173

from a 1950s bedjacket

Courtesy of bigchief173

from a 1955 party dress - Courtesy of pastperfectvintage.com

from a 1955 party dress

Courtesy of pastperfectvintage.com

from a 1950s ribbon dress - Courtesy of ranchqueenvintage

from a 1950s ribbon dress

Courtesy of ranchqueenvintage

from a 1955 dress - Courtesy of fuzzylizzie.com

from a 1955 dress

Courtesy of fuzzylizzie.com

from a 1950s women's suit - Courtesy of Vintagiality

from a 1950s women’s suit

Courtesy of Vintagiality

from an early 1960s dress - Courtesy of listitcafe

from an early 1960s dress

Courtesy of listitcafe

from a 1960s A-line dress - Courtesy of artisannes

from a 1960s A-line dress

Courtesy of artisannes

from a 1964 Castillo dress  - Courtesy of claireshaeffer

from a 1964 Castillo dress

Courtesy of claireshaeffer

from a 1966 dress - Courtesy of cmpollack

from a 1966 dress

Courtesy of cmpollack

from a late-1960s/early-1970s cape - Courtesy of Vintagiality

from a late-1960s/early-1970s cape

Courtesy of Vintagiality

from a 1970s Bonnie Cashin coat - Courtesy of Ranch Queen Vintage

from a 1970s Bonnie Cashin coat

Courtesy of Ranch Queen Vintage

from a 1970s dress and cape outfit - Courtesy of EBTH

from a 1970s dress and cape outfit

Courtesy of EBTH

from a 1990s jersey dress - Courtesy of claireshaeffer

from a 1990s jersey dress

Courtesy of claireshaeffer