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Collection Guide
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Bonnie Cashin Collection of Fashion, Theater and Film Costume Design, 1913-2000
440  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography/History
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Restrictions on Access

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bonnie Cashin collection of fashion, theater and film costume design
    Collection number: 440
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 160 linear ft. (318 boxes. 4 garment racks.)
    Date (inclusive): 1913-2000
    Abstract: The collection contains Bonnie Cashin's personal archive documenting her design career. The collection includes Cashin's design illustrations, writings on design, contractual paperwork, photographs of her clothing designs, and press materials including press releases and editorial coverage of her work. Personal photographs and letters to Cashin are also included.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Cashin, Bonnie.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Early design work and related documents
    2. Chorus girl costumes
    3. Early ready-to-wear designs
    4. Hollywood film costume and fashion designs
    5. Return to ready-to-wear
    6. Sills and Co. ready-to-wear
    7. Writings and musings by Bonnie Cashin
    8. Fur coat designs
    9. Loungewear designs
    10. Accessory designs
    11. Alex Gropper: Gropper leather wear
    12. Russell Taylor ready-to-wear
    13. Designs for events / Non-commercial collections
    14. Professional photographs of Bonnie Cashin
    15. Personal photographs
    16. Bonnie Cashin notebooks
    17. Personal papers
    18. Rainwear designs
    19. Ford Foundation trip to India
    20. Journalistic coverage of Bonnie Cashin
    21. Publicity materials and citations
    22. Cashin Men ready-to-wear
    23. Knitwear designs
    24. Non-fashion illustrations / Art by Bonnie Cashin
    25. Legal documents and related papers.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains Cashin's personal archive documenting her design career. The collection includes Cashin's design illustrations, writings on design, contractual paperwork, photographs of her clothing designs, and press materials including press releases and editorial coverage of her work. Personal photographs and letters to Cashin are also included. Examples of Cashin's fashion and accessory designs in the library's collection are not from the Cashin estate, but were given to the library anonymously in 2005.

    Biography/History

    Bonnie Cashin was born September 28, 1908 in Fresno, Calif. In her teens she worked as a fashion illustrator and dance costume designer for Los Angeles dance troupe, Fanchon and Marco. She briefly studied drawing at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles. In 1933 she moved to New York to design costumes for the Roxyette danceline at the Roxy Theater. In 1933, and again in 1935, Cashin studied drawing at the Art Students' League. From 1937 until 1942, she designed for the coat and suit manufacturer Adler & Adler. Cashin resigned from the Roxy to design film costumes for Twentieth Century-Fox (1942-1949). During her tenure at the studio, Cashin designed costumes for more than sixty films including Laura (1944), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), and A tree grows in Brooklyn (1946). From 1949 to 1985 she designed ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, gaining fame as one of the most innovative American designers and a pioneer of twentieth-century sportswear. In her designs and writings, Cashin championed creative independence and efficient use of technology within the fashion industry. Cashin returned to ready-to-wear design for Adler & Adler (1949-1951) before beginning her long association with manufacturer Philip Sills of Sills and Co. in 1953, which lasted until 1977. In 1961, Cashin accepted the offer to launch the Coach handbag company, for whom she designed accessories until 1974. Her designs for that firm remain in production under the title of "Legacy". Cashin followed her Coach years by designing handbags for Meyers (1975-1979). Cashin also designed cashmere separates for Ballantyne of Peebles (1964-1968) as well as for her own company, The Knittery (1970-1980). After the termination of her partnership with Sills and Co., Cashin designed ready-to-wear for manufacturer Russell Taylor (1978-1985) under the labels "Cashin Country" and "Weatherwear". Partnerships with other manufacturers included glove, fur coat, rainwear, loungewear, tote bag, and umbrella designs. Cashin did not employ any design assistants nor did she license her name. Among many industry awards, she received the Coty award five times, and entered their Hall of Fame in 1972. By 1980, Cashin had established the Innovative Design Fund, a non-profit organization to provide funding for design prototypes. She enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the California Institute of Technology, establishing the James Michelin Lecture Series in 1978 as well as the Bonnie Cashin Most Creative Application Essay Award. Cashin died from complications during heart surgery on February 3, 2000 in New York, New York.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bonnie Cashin Collection of Fashion, Theater and Film Costume Design (Collection 440). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5399252 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of the Bonnie Cashin estate, July 2003.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright to all original drawings, are retained by The Bonnie Cashin Foundation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Cashin, Bonnie--Archives.
    Women fashion designers--United States--Archives.
    Women costume designers--United States--Archives.
    fashion photographs.