Tabulous Tastemaker: Pauline Trigere

November 4, 2014

By Tab Byrum

Today we are remembering Tabulous Tastemaker Pauline Trigère.  


Pauline Trigère was born in Paris on November 4, 1908, her father was a tailor and her mother a dressmaker, so she was definitely born to the business.   Pauline Trigère was married for a short time to Lazar Radley and together they had two sons, Jean-Pierre and Phillipe.    The Radleys became concerned about the rise of Hitler in Germany so together the young family immigrated to America in 1937, where she went to work for other designers and eventually opened her own fashion house in 1942, the same year Mr. Radley and she separated, divorcing many years later. 

Her first collection consisted of 12 dresses, but 3 years later in ’45 she was a respected designer and label.



In the 1950’s she began designing and producing her own line of costume jewelry to go with her clothes as did many other designers of the time including Chanel.


Model Susie Parker in Pauline Trigere suit and jewelry, 1955

 She won her first Coty Award in 1952 and her clientele included the Duchess of Windsor, Claudette Colbert and Lena Horne, Trigère is also credited with designing the stylish wardrobe worn by Patricia Neal’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Pauline Trigère did not sketch her designs in the traditional way, but instead draped her designs from bolts of fabric on mannequins and models.


 Trigère is credited with the quote, “Fashion is what people tell you to wear, style is what comes from your own inner thing”.  


This silk dress with bell sleeves and the abstract branch pattern is still chic today. 

Pauline Trigère wore only her own designs usually decorated with turtle pins and brooches that she collected.  



Pauline Trigere dress patterns for McCall’s from the 1950’s and 1960’s. 



This Pauline Trigere 1960’s LBD is still on trend today with organza and ruffles. 


Pauline Trigere designs are still sought after today and worn by the likes of 
model Linda Rodin and Sarah Jessica Parker. 


An iconic Trigere cape. 


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Miss Trigère continued to design collections and take part in shows until 1994 when she closed her large studio and downsized to a smaller space where she continued to market accessories and jewelry, closing that business completely in 2000.  Pauline Trigère died at her Manhattan home in February of 2002, she was 93.


Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of Pinterest.

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