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THE RUDI GERNREICH BOOK

1957, swimsuits, including a ladderback version. (photographs William Claxton)

"I had no intention of producing the suit for actual consumption until I talked to Diana Vreeland of Vogue. She was the onlv editor I showed the suit to personally.  Peggy was with me, and she was wearing the suit under a little Japanese kimono she had bought somewhere on Hollywood Boulevard. I think she paid eight dollars for it. When Mrs. Vreeland asked to see the suit, Peggy came out in the robe, took it off, and proceeded to model the suit. There was dead silence. Absolutely no response. Ididn't explain anything. As Peggy had her hand on the door to leave, Mrs. Vreeland boomed out in that unforgettable voice, 'Maaaaaaaaaaaahvelous kimono!' A few minutes later she asked me to tell her about the suit, asking me why I did it.

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