Working for Alfred of New York

by Alden Cole on May 7, 2014 · 0 comments

pencil caricature of ‘yours truly’ on paper by Tony Paparo, 1970 • 10″ x 8″ • collection of Alden Cole

TonyPaparo'sCWPPicking up where I left off on May 2, May Day! M’aidez!: The two weeks in Europe provided a number of life-enhancing and -altering experiences which greatly enlarged my already expanding world view; prime among them was encountering in person, and up close, some of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance in Florence (Ghiberti’s sculpted doors to the Baptistry next to the Duomo, Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring David, Botticelli’s Primavera and The Birth of Venus, just to name those which proved most personally moving); as well as in Madrid (visiting the Prado, one of the truly great museum treasure houses of the world); plus an extraordinary day trip to Toledo to visit the cathedral and El Greco’s home. Those were the experiences I remember. The details of the day-to-day business dealings we were there to transact – talking through an interpreter with the contractors who were producing the various leather garments we were there to design, on the spot no less – are forgotten, as in a dream. I do remember that I had to come up with numerous sketches while listening to Norman expound on what the line should consist of. It was exciting and challenging. By mid-May, we were back in NYC, with tales of our European adventures, and grand plans for the growth of Alfred of New York. Only one obstacle remained; that was winning the approval of the new president for our division, who was yet to be hired. My sponsor and traveling companion to Europe, Norman Goldstein, was ineligible for the presidency because of his youthful age. The presidential search finally came to an end in early July with the hiring of Irwin Silver, a 7th Avenue wheeler/dealer type whom I had met once before, and who was not impressed with me or my credentials; in fact he had plans of his own — to bring along one of his personal friends as company designer, despite Norman’s preferences for me. So yes, you guessed it, after only two months in this new position, I was again out of a job — for the fifth time in nine months. Yet again I was on my own and fancy-free, if not exactly care-free about the future. It was the last time I held a 9-5 job as a fashion designer; I would not seek employment in that capacity on 7th Avenue again. It was time for a career change…

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