Thursday, April 10, 2008

"My latest Leslie Fay!"

At the risk of showing my age, I have to ask: does anyone else besides me remember the magazine advertisements for a line of women’s clothing that featured a stylishly dressed model standing underneath the words “My Latest Leslie Fay”? She seemed to be bragging about her attire as fervently as an art collector would brag about a newly acquired Rembrandt. As a young woman, I found these ads extremely compelling.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Andrew Gross, the author of The Blue Zone, is the grandson of the company’s founder. What a jewel to have in your lineage! Gross’s grandfather, Fred Pomerantz, named the company after his daughter, who must either be Gross’s mother or an aunt. My thanks to the whole family for their invaluable contribution to women’s fashion.

As I recently discovered, you can still buy garments on eBay that have the words “My Latest Leslie Fay” sewn into the tag. Nowadays, though, the company makes clothes under the names Haberdashery by Leslie Fay, Joan Leslie, Reggio, David Warren, Rimini by Shaw, Outlander Sportswear, and Hue. They are also a licensee for the Liz Claiborne, Elisabeth, and Cynthia Steffe dress labels.

So the next time you see these brands in a department store, think of Andrew Gross and The Blue Zone—it’s not such a far stretch from the fictional world of advertising to the fictional world of a thriller. Both help us escape from the everyday . . .


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