Traphagen Alumni

Alumni who attended The Traphagen School of Fashion. Dates they attended are noted in their bio.

Helen Lee (1926, Costume Design): Helen Lee Caldwell was a leading designer of children’s clothing in Manhattan, New York. Her clothing line, Designs by Helen Lee Inc., was established in 1955. In 1953, she was awarded a Coty American Fashion Critics Award for her designs for Youngland Inc., making her the first children’s designer to win a Coty.

Vera Neumann / Image via

Vera Neumann (1926, Illustration and Textile Design): Known as simply Vera, she designed linens, scarves, and other housewares that feature her designs and unique prints. Vera sold brightly painted scarves worldwide and her designs were influenced by her travels.

Gladys Parker (1928, Illustration): As an American cartoonist, Parker created comic strips with a focus on fashion and popular comic called Mopsy (1929-1965). Along with the weekly strip, Parker added cut-out fashions for paper dolls that reflected the popular fashions of the time.

Anne Klein / Image via

Anne Klein (c.1930, Costume Design): Anne Klein, a native of Brooklyn, New York, worked in the fashion industry as a junior’s clothing designer and as a women’s sophisticated wear designer. She created her own line in 1948 and has since been known to cater to a distinctive American sportswear look.

Carolyn Schnurer / Image via Women’s Wear Daily; New York Vol. 89, Iss. 64, (Sep 30, 1954): SII57. Copyright 2013. Fairchild Fashion Media, a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.

Carolyn Schnurer (1939, Costume Design): Carolyn Schnurer was a pioneer in the emerging American sportswear industry during the 20th century. She designed clothing for active young women that were comfortable on the body and could be worn for various occasions. Carolyn is well known for her culturally inspired collections that maintained a classic American silhouette.

James Galanos with model. Photo by Gleb Derujinsky /The New York Times.

James Galanos (1943, Costume Design): James Galanos is a notable designer who spent most of his career designing for America’s social elite. A winner of several Coty Awards and other accolades, Galanos designed elegant and technically complex clothing.

Victor Joris (1945, Costume Design and Sketching): Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, and Pat Nixon all wore designs by Victor Joris. He was frequently featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily. During his early career, he worked in Paris as an assistant to Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain.

Geoffrey Beene / Image via National Portrait Gallery, NPG.2012.77.9, Photo by Yousuf Karsh, 1991, © Estate of Yousuf Karsh.

Geoffrey Beene (1947, Costume Design): Geoffrey Beene studied fashion in New York and Paris. Throughout his career, he won eight Coty awards. He was known for his unconventional designs, simple style, and muted colors. Beene founded his fashion company in New York City in 1963 on Seventh Avenue.

Maurice Levin, c. late 1940s / Image via
Maurice Levin Archive.
Gift of Marsha Fagin in Loving Memory of Maurice Levin
FIDM Museum

Maurice Levin (1948, Costume Design): Maurice Levin was a fashion designer interested in men’s and women’s fashion. Levin’s first professional fashion job was to design swimwear for Jantzen, a major swimwear company.

Luis Estevez (1951, Costume Design): Luis Estevez was a Cuban-born fashion designer who designed everything from shoes to fabrics. He was known for his personality and talent, which made him popular in New York, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach.

Antonio Lopez (1955, Illustration): Antonio Lopez was a fashion illustrator whose work has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times, and many other fashion magazines. Lopez attended a high school program at The Traphagen School of Fashion and eventually attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he honed his skills in fashion design and illustration until he eventually began working for Women’s Wear Daily.

Mary McFadden (1956, Costume Design): Mary McFadden is an American art collector, editor, fashion designer, and writer. She worked as the director of public relations for Dior during the 1960s and was the editor for South African Vogue from 1968 to 1970. McFadden started her own clothing company in 1976, Mary McFadden Inc.

Esta Nesbitt at the Shadow paintings exhibit, circa 1974 / unidentified photographer / Image via Esta Nesbitt papers, 1942-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

John Kloss (1958, Costume Design): John Kloss is well known for his sculptural dresses and unique use of color patterns and designs. The vivid colors in his clothing designs were reminiscent of abstract expressionist painting.

Esta Nesbitt (1937, Illustration): Esta Nesbitt was a fashion illustrator, known her artistic renditions of clothing. Her illustrations were featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle, and the New York Times. Nesbitt was a professor at the Parson’s School of Design from 1964 to 1974.

Stan Herman speaking at The Museum at FIT 2012 / Image via © MFIT 2012

Stan Herman (1952, Costume Design): Stan Herman is an American designer well known for his uniforms. He worked at Mr. Mort, a ready-to-wear company on Seventh Avenue in New York. Herman’s first uniforms were designed for Avis, the rental car company. Throughout his career, he created uniforms for many other well known companies, such as McDonald’s and United Airlines.

Arthur McGee / Image via

Arthur McGee (1951, Costume Design): Having earned a scholarship to attend The Traphagen School of Fashion, Arthur McGee studied millinery and fashion design. In 1957, he became the first African American to run the design room at an established Seventh Avenue apparel company. Throughout his career, McGee sold designs to major stores, such as Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman.