Hattie Carnegie jewellery
Legendary Hattie Carnegie jewellery
Born Henrietta Kanengeiser on March 15, 1889 in Vienna, Austria, Hattie Carnegie became a legendary American jewelry and fashion designer in the 1920s-1950s. She was the second of seven children of Isaac Kanengeiser and his wife Helen Kranczer. In 1900 their family emigrated to the United States of America. The 16-year-old Henrietta worked as a secretary in the Macy’s Store, one of the famous New York department stores. Noteworthy, it was her father, Jewish tailor, who had introduced her to the world of fashion. Elegant and beautiful Henrietta designed her own clothes and accessories. Meanwhile, Henrietta adopted the name Hattie Carnegie after she had met the local dressmaker Rose Ruth Purchaser. In 1909 Hattie Carnegie and Rose Ruth opened their own fashion business on East 49th Street in New York. Nine years later she founded the Hattie Carnegie, Inc.
Hattie Carnegie’s elegant couture collection and secondary ready-to-wear lines were revolutionary in the sense that they introduced ready-to-wear to the high-end market. She pioneered the ‘head-to-hem’ boutique concept that paved the way for the future success of Ralph Lauren in America. In particular, Hattie Carnegie collection which included fashion jewelery, lingerie, hats and perfume in the range. Stylishly understated, yet elegant and luxurious – as she also corresponded to the American taste in fashion until the late 1920s. The made-to-order department was headed by Pauline Fairfax Potter for about a decade.
In 1925 Hattie Carnegie signed a contract with Isaac Magnin, who allowed her to open stores in Macy’s. Hattie Carnegie designs came to Hollywood attention and appeared later in their productions. Famous designers such as Norman Norell, Pauline Trigere, James Galanos, Ward Bennett and Jean Louis learned the craft from her. Her clients included, among others, Joan Crawford, the Duchess of Windsor and Baroness de Rothschild.
Noteworthy, commissioned by the U.S. Army during the Korean War (1950-1953) Hattie Carnegie designed new uniforms for female military corps. As a result, the company received the highest civilian award from the Army (WAC) – the Congressional Medal of Freedom. Also, awarded for other charitable and patriotic contributions. The uniform was in use until 1968.
Hattie Carnegie married Zanft John (1883-1960) in 1928, the marriage remained childless. When Carnegie died in 1956 in New York, Zanft John became the owner of an eight million businesses.
Carnegie jewelry, produced since 1918, enjoyed the attention of the elite, including Talulu Bankhead, Joan Fontaine, Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.
Traditionally, Carnegie attracted different designers to work, so her jewelry reflects different styles. Flowers, fruits and leaves are constantly repeating motifs, but the eastern influence is noticeable in brooches in the form of stylized animals. Her favorite materials in very unusual combinations were enamel, artificial pearls, rock crystal and glass beads. Ornaments of the brand “Hatti Carnegie”, “Carnegie” or “HC” of excellent quality and today remain as popular as in the year of their creation.
Hattie Carnegie jewellery
jewelry guide, 2004