Hoosier native dubbed ‘Empress of Fashion’ focus of annual lecture

Hoosier native Eleanor Lambert’s ideas, creations and hard work helped elevate the entire fashion industry. Born and raised in Crawfordsville, Ind., Lambert — who died at the age of 100 in 2003 — was known to many as the “Empress of Fashion” due to her trademark turbans and oversized jewelry.

Author John Tiffany with the late Eleanor Lambert, known to many as the "Empress of Fashion."

Author John Tiffany with the late Eleanor Lambert, known to many as the “Empress of Fashion.”

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the IMU’s Frangipani Room, “Eleanor Lambert: Empress of Fashion” author John Tiffany will chart Lambert’s story from small-town girl to one of the most powerful people in the international fashion industry. His visit is made possible by the Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series established in 2002 with a bequest from the designer, himself a native Hoosier and friend of Indiana University. The series is presented and hosted by the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lambert’s work as a publicity agent advanced the careers of numerous American designers, including Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Halston and Calvin Klein. She created the International Best-Dressed List, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as its gala, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its awards and Fashion Week in New York.

“We are delighted to bring Mr. Tiffany to IU as a 2013 Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar speaker,” department chair Kate Rowold said. “Mr. Blass and Ms. Lambert were close friends for decades, so it is particularly fitting that Mr. Blass’ gift to IU makes it possible for us to bring Mr. Tiffany to Indiana to share the story of one of our state’s most influential fashion pioneers.”

Early in his career, Tiffany was mentored by Lambert. With more than 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and sponsorship projects, his expertise lies in producing major events around the globe. He is working on his next book as well as leading the charge to create the nation’s first National Archives Center for Fashion at the Library of Congress.

Tiffany will also speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at the IU Center for Art + Design, 310 Jackson St. in Columbus. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

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