Sophie of Saks

“A woman and her waistline should never be separated.” – Sophie Gimbel


The Parsons Show, featuring a portrait of Sophie to the left.


Sophie and Adam Gimbel

“Sophie of Saks” (Sophie Gimbel) was the head designer for the Salon Moderne for forty years. An incredibly talented designer and astute businesswoman, many thought of her as the quintessential American designer, but today many are unaware of her popularity. Always an admirer of her designs, I was happy to hear that the Parsons School of Design and Saks Fifth Avenue have collaborated on an excellent show featuring her dresses.1101470915_400

Sophie was born in Houston and her design aesthetic was purely and proudly American. She was hired by Adam Gimbel, the owner of Saks, in 1929, married him in 1931 and stayed on as head designer there for forty years. Although she enjoyed using exotic materials like Indian sari fabric, she was a bit of a workaholic (churning out over 500 designs per year) and ironically didn’t travel much. But she had such good instincts and was so successful that Time Magazine featured her on their cover in 1947. She is also credited with the invention of “culottes.”

I owned a Sophie of Saks many years ago, a stunning green strapless gown from the 1950s worthy of being in this show. At the time I knew little about her designs, but I knew the workmanship was exquisite and the fabric incredibly luxurious. I don’t regret selling it, but I do hope the customer who bought it is appreciative of what they have.

For more information and to see many of her designs online, see

About Elisa Casas

ELISA CASAS (that’s me) was born and raised in New York City. I have a BFA in Photography from NYU and worked as a photojournalist and talent scout for major record labels before opening Chelsea Girl in 1993. I also owned Laurel Canyon Vintage, Clutch! and a popular cafe, City Girl Cafe, and I starred in the groundbreaking Sundance series, “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” with my best friend, David Munk. I like pomegranates, clouds, “Exile on Main Street,” birthdays, ancient ruins, the beach, abstract art, cypress trees, “Annie Hall,” old diamonds, Almodovar, clam shacks, surprises, Anne Boleyn, popcorn, “Rebecca,” margaritas, pugs, apple pie and castles in Spain. I live in TriBeCa with my fashionable daughter, Ruby. Follow Chelsea Girl on Facebook- and Instagram-ChelseaGirlVintage
This entry was posted in "vintage is green", adam gimbel, elisa casas, parsons school of design, saks fifth avenue, sophie gimbel, sophie of saks, vintage clothing. Bookmark the permalink.

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