Liz Claiborne, American fashion designer and entrepreneur, Died at 78

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Dead, Anne Elisabeth Jane “Liz” Claiborne on the 26th of June 2007 at the age of 78, she was a Belgian-born American fashion designer and entrepreneur.

Born in Brussels to American parents on the 31st March 1929, she came from a prominent Louisiana family with an ancesteur, William C. C. Claiborne, who served as Louisiana’s first governor after statehood, during the War of 1812.

In 1949, she won the Jacques Heim National Design Contest (sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar), and then moved to Manhattan where she worked for years in the Garment District on Seventh Avenue, as a sketch artist at the sportswear house, Tina Lessero.

She also worked for the former Hollywood costume designer turned fashion designer, Omar Kiam.

In 1957, she married her co-worker, textile executive Arthur Ortenberg (who survived her death, dying himself in 2014).

She had a son from her first marriage, Alexander G. Schultz, and two stepchildren from her second marriage, Neil Ortenberg and Nancy Ortenberg.

In 1960, Liz Claiborne became head designer of Jonathan Logan’s Youth Guild label, and stayed with the junior dress line for more than 15 years before breaking out on her own.

With $50,000 of her own savings and $200,000 from friends, family members and associates, she co-founded her own firm, Liz Claiborne Inc., in 1976 with her husband, Arthur Ortenberg, and partners Leonard Boxer and Jerome Chazen.

At a time when women were entering the workforce in great numbers, Clairborne built the company into a billion-dollar-a-year business, first designing stylish, moderately priced sportswear that freed working women from plain, dark suits, then expanding into menswear, accessories and perfume.

After retiring, Liz Claiborne devoted much of her time to social causes.

She and her husband started the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation to support a number of different projects around the world; over the years, the organization has supported conservation and environment efforts, including those aimed at protecting elephants in Gabon and Mozambique.

Jerome Chasen became the company’s Chairman in 1989 and held that role until 1996, when Paul Charron became Chairman and C.E.O. and held that position until 2006.

On 15 May 2012, Liz Claiborne Ltd.

Officially became Fifth Avenue & Cathay Pacific Ltd., shifted focus, launched new brands, and began marketing directly to customers. The original brand was sold.

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