Contributing Authors

I’m so excited to introduce our contributing authors! It’s been a pleasure getting to know these gentlemen, learning about their admiration for Irene, her work and finding out what exciting projects they’re involved with, that eventually brought them to

From Thomas Gates

My interest in Irene started when I was an undergraduate at USC in the early 1960s and worked in the tearoom of Bullock’s Wilshire. There, Irene’s apparel was modeled and she also used the venue to present her seasonal collections. Many decades later, while I was organizing the June F. Mohler Fashion Library for the Rodgers/Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University I recalled her and her stunning fashions from the periodicals I was processing. These included Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Town and Country. I also discovered that next door to the library, at the Kent State University Museum, there was a collection of her apparel as well as other files related to her retail design career. Over ten years ago I began researching her career in films, retail, and her life story. Some of my research was presented at symposia for the Costume Society of America, of which I am a member. The draft of the book about Irene was completed about two years ago, and currently I am working on editing it after submitting it to a publisher. Hopefully, I’ll have it in good shape to finalize soon. It will include illustration of Hollywood stars wearing her apparel from her freelance days at various studios and at MGM, as well as examples from her later retail collections, after she established Irene, Inc. in 1947. Please contact me about Irene should you have any questions. Tom Gates

From Christian Esquevin

The fashions and costumes of Irene have been a strong attraction to me for many years. I began my interest in Hollywood costume design through my great-aunt who was the head cutter-fitter of the RKO studios during Hollywood’s golden Age. Although she did not work with Irene, she bequeathed me many original costume design sketches, and by researching these, I eventually came in contact with Irene, Travis Banton, Edith Head, Adrian and many other designers. I became an avid collector of these costume design sketches and subsequently wrote a book, “Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label,” that was published in 2008. My late friend Satch La Valley was a major fan of Irene and Adrian, and by acquiring many items in his collection I also pursued my interest in Irene and Walter Plunkett. His Irene photo collection was wonderful and he had some rare sketches as well. I am currently writing a book about Irene that also involves other costume designers. I am also the director of the Coronado Public Library in California.

I will be adding more info from the other authors soon. In the meantime; as you read posts throughout the site, please note the Author of the post and click on their name to read more about them.

My many thanks and appreciation goes to Tom Gates, Christian Esquevin and Greg LaVoi.

Karlyn Camenga