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December 26, 2022

Stunning Photos Show Fashion Designs by Mollie Parnis in the 1950s and ’60s

Born 1899 in New York City, American fashion designer Mollie Parnis and her husband, Leon Livingston, started a company called Parnis Livingston Inc. on Seventh Avenue in the Garment District that sold women’s suits and blouses. This business drew from Parnis’ design expertise and her husband’s experience with fabrics and textiles. In the 1940s she began designing under her name only.

Mollie Parnis’ fashion designs in the 1950s and ’60s

Parnis belongs to the first generation of American designers to be known to the public by name rather than by affiliation to a department store and is best known for designing clothing worn by many First Ladies, as well as the uniform of the Cadet Nurse Corps in World War II. Parnis died in 1992 at the age of 93.

These stunning photos show beautiful Mollie Parnis’ fashion designs worn by classic beauties in the 1950s and 1960s.

Dovima in bouffant silk taffeta skirt with separate square-cut taffeta top by Mollie Parnis, Coro earrings, Hattie Carnegie fan, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, February 1951

Eva Gerney wearing a suit of silk taffeta with peplum and velvet collar by Mollie Parnis, photo by Horst P. Horst, February 1951

Georgia Hamilton in dress of white and pink striped silk by Mollie Parnis, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, April 1952

Jean Patchett wearing pale pink poodle coat by Swansdown over dress of pleated silk Shantung by Mollie Parnis, jewelry by Miriam Haskell, photo by Horst P. Horst, 1952

Liz Pringle in pale silk dinner dress with small matching jacket by Mollie Parnis, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, October 1952

Sandra Nelson in white silk organdy dress with a little shawl around the shoulders by Mollie Parnis, photo by Gleb Derujinsky, Harper's Bazaar, December 1952

Sheila Kilgore wears a Princess coat-dress of checked stiff, ridged silk lined in red taffeta with jeweled buttons and half belt in back by Mollie Parnis, photo by Nina Leen, National Gallery, Washington D.C., February 1952

Suzy Parker in a summer dress of white linen by Mollie Parnis, photo by Clifford Coffin, February 1952

Cherry Nelms in black and gray plaid cotton dress with white piqué collar and black patent leather belt by Mollie Parnis, photo by Richard Avedon, Bermuda, Harper's Bazaar, May 1953

Cherry Nelms in taupe silk twill sheath by Mollie Parnis, red brushed velours cap by John Frederics, gold and diamond necklace and bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels, photo by Henry Clarke, Vogue, July 1953

Evelyn Tripp in a red silk twill dress with a bustle-bow by Mollie Parnis, rhinestone jewellery by Bogoff, photo by Horst P. Horst, Vogue, November 15, 1953

Kathy Dennis in dress by Mollie Parnis, background by Marcel Vertés, photo by Horst P. Horst, 1953

Mary Jane Russell in a camel wool suit by Mollie Parnis and a fur turquoise hat by Emme, photo by Horst P. Horst, 1953

Evelyn Tripp in lovely summer dress of sheer organdy print over taffeta by Mollie Parnis, shoes by De Liso Debs, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, May 1955

Liz Pringle in floral print silk twill dress and jacket by Mollie Parnis, baby cap with same print cartwheel by Emme, photo by Richard Avedon, paintings in background are by Molyneux, Harper's Bazaar, April 1955

Model in a pink with white polka dot silk surah dress by Mollie Parnis and reverse dot beret, photo by Richard Rutledge, Vogue, March 1, 1955

Carmen Dell' Orefice in very pretty dress of black piqué swirling out from a camisole bodice by Mollie Parnis, diamond brooch and ring by Harry Winston, photo by Lillian Bassman, 1956

Evelyn Tripp and Joan Friedman in dresses by Mollie Parnis and flowered hats by Adolfo of Emme, photo by Karen Radkai, Vogue, April 15, 1956

Jessica Ford in blue floral print Wamsutta Supervoile dress by Mollie Parnis, Wamsutta fabric ad, Vogue, December 1, 1956

Joan Friedman and Jessica Ford in pretty thin-as-air cotton shiffon dresses by Mollie Parnis, hats by Emme, photo by Karen Radkai, Vogue, December 1, 1956

Sunny Harnett in silk printed sheath with short bolero by Mollie Parnis, photo by Richard Rutledge, Vogue, 1956

Anne Gunning in vibrant red Pima cotton voile dress by Mollie Parnis, Harper's Bazaar, May 1957

Isabella Albonico in black worsted jersey dress by Mollie Parnis, a raisin-colored velours hat by Sally Victor, and stole of black-dyed Russian broadtail lamb and Canadian fox by Fredrica, photo by Irving Penn, September 15, 1958

Model wearing yellow dress with rhinestone buttons, by Mollie Parnis, and earrings by Mosell, photo by Leombruno-Bodi, 1959

Isabella Albonico in boldly colored plum-red and blue print two-piece dress on Liberty of London silk by Mollie Parnis, red straw pagoda hat by Sally Victor, earrings by Hattie Carnegie, photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, April 1, 1961

Tamara Nyman in sky-blue wool tweed suit with geranium-pink silk blouse by Mollie Parnis, jewelry by David Webb, photo by Karen Radkai, Vogue, January 1, 1961

Anne de Zogheb in sleeveless brown linen skimmer, half-belted in back, by Mollie Parnis, earrings by Schlumberger of Tiffany's, photo by Bert Stern, Vogue, May 1, 1962

Dorothea in a bright green chiffon dress and stole fringed with ostrich feathers by Mollie Parnis, photo by Irving Penn, Vogue US, March 1963

Brigitte Bauer in a pin-pleat evening with fan-pleated top in pale floral print by Mollie Parnis, photo by Horst P. Horst, Vogue, April 15, 1964

Jean Shrimpton in white linen dress printed with spice-yellow pansies, with turtleneck and string tie at the waist by Mollie Parnis, KJL ring, photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, June 1, 1964

Model in an evening coat of yellow matelasse by Mollie Parnis, photo by Horst P. Horst at Kronberg, Denmark, Vogue, October 1, 1964

Marisa Berenson in dress of pale flowers embroidered in beads on a nude-colored net over crêpe with bands of silver and gold at the neck and sleeves by Mollie Parnis, photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, September 1, 1965

Veruschka in beautiful colorful silk chiffon dress that scarfs one shoulder and swirls the body in a silken swirl, by Mollie Parnis, photo by Bert Stern, Vogue, April 1, 1965

Isa Stoppi in celery-green short silk chiffon smock with sparkling orange and green beaded yoke by Mollie Parnis, earrings by Charles Elkaim, photo by Louis Faurer, Harper's Bazaar, February 1966

Françoise Hardy in silk belted shirtdress with bright colors blocked out like ships' flags on a field of white by Mollie Parnis, shoes by Golo, photo by Richard Avedon, Vogue, March 1, 1967

Gloria Friedrich in short, floaty dress of lace woven in silver and gold falling from a jeweled neck ending in a scalloped hem by Mollie Parnis, earrings by Schreiner, coiffure by Kenneth, photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, September 1, 1967

Charlene Dash in dress of richly woven fabric with the look of tapestry by Mollie Parnis, photo by Gianni Penati, Vogue US, July 1969




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