May Day! M’aidez!

by Alden Cole on May 2, 2014 · 2 comments

JA&ACWPI’m talking about two different May Days here. Of note: yesterday I celebrated the 28th anniversary of my arrival in Philadelphia — May 1, 1986 — a true M’aidez May Day, to begin a new life. Like yesterday, that May Day was also a Thursday, was also hot and humid – an anomaly in our colder-than-usual spring this year… However, the May Day I’m concerned with in today’s post was sixteen years earlier: 1970, when I faced another ‘new’ life beginning, as a free lance designer in NYC, working with Juan Arrillaga, my first lover, who briefly became my business partner. Today’s art is a photo of the two of us, in response to a suggestion from my friend Sharon Gold in Hawaii who requested it after reading the posting from two days ago, A New Decade Begins. The occasion was relaxing with some May Wine after a photo shoot in which a number of clothes designed in our studio were worn for some test shots by a beautiful young model, a friend of a friend who had arranged the shoot. I’m also wearing one of my creations — a one-piece jumpsuit designed in our studio, during those months working together before our Puerto Rican sojourn.

To pick up from yesterday’s post, my two-week visit in the tropics was over all too soon; sadly I faced returning to NYC and virtual joblessness. When I got home however there were messages awaiting, from one Norman Goldstein who was trying to get in touch with me — about a job. I returned his calls the next day to discover that he was a friend of my recent would-be business partner Alan Sussman, who had recommended me; and he was looking for a designer — fast. The short of it was this: Norman was the young 24-year-old Vice President of Alfred of New York, a division of Eagle Clothes, a major suit manufacturer. Alfred of NY made elegant, expensive sportswear for the older gentlemen’s trade — lots of leather and tweed. Apparently the former president and designer of the division were caught embezzling and immediately fired; Norman, a bright aggressive young salesman for the parent company was offered the Vice Presidency of the division plus the challenge of keeping it afloat while the job search for a new president got underway. Norman’s young age prevented him from being given the Presidency. Anyway, seasonal scheduling required him to make a two-week business trip to Florence and Madrid to work with factories there that were producing the finished goods for Alfred, and he needed a designer to go with him, hopefully me. Successfully he coached me through the interview with the president of Eagle Clothes.

1970-26WPWithin two weeks of being hired in early May 1970 I had gotten a passport (yes, that’s me at age 26 looking pretty grim for my passport photo) and was on my way to Europe for the first time in my life. Needless to say I was thrilled with all that transpired so quickly in those first two weeks of May. In my mind’s eye I can still see those first impressions of the Italian light when we landed outside Florence at the beginning of our nine day stay there. Our second stop was Madrid for five nights. Absolutely awesome! I could write at length about the various experiences abroad, but this is not the medium. More GP stories to come however…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nancy wysemen May 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I love both pictures. The soft tie is beautiful. nancy


nancy wysemen May 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Looking hot!


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