Florence Eiseman wearing a Pauline Trigère evening gown (Object ID #1988.19) while winning the Gimbel's Fashion Forum Award in 1971
Source: Mount Mary University Archives
Florence Eiseman (née Feinberg) (1899-1988) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on September 27, 1899. She met and married Lawrence Eiseman in Chicago and the couple moved to Milwaukee where they had two sons. After seeing a doctor for a “nervous condition,” she was advised to take up a hobby. Eiseman began sewing clothing for her sons and the children of her friends. In 1945, her husband took several examples of Eiseman’s pinafores to a buyer at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. The buyer placed a $3,000 order and the business was born.
Of the firm belief that children should be dressed like children, not miniature adults, Eiseman created designs featuring A-line silhouettes, bright primary colors, and whimsical appliqués. She used the highest quality fabrics, often sourcing materials from Europe. Her commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed. Eiseman was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1955, the first childrenswear designer to receive this distinction. She went on to receive many other accolades, including the Gimbel’s Fashion Forum Award. Eiseman was herself a snappy dresser, favoring simple, well-made clothing from the likes ofNorman NorellandPauline Trigère. She was involved in the business almost until her death in 1988.
This exhibit showcases items from Florence Eiseman's wardrobe, donated primarily by her estate. To see items she designed, visit the Florence Eiseman exhibit.