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When Women Ran Fifth Avenue

Glamour and Power at the Dawn of American Fashion

Author Julie Satow On Tour
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Ebook
On sale Jun 04, 2024 | 336 Pages | 9780385548762
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A glittering portrait of the golden age of American department stores and of three visionary women who led them, from the award-winning author of The Plaza. • "Ms. Satow’s carefully researched book is compulsively readable: I found myself dashing through it like a novel. She portrays the women with verve; we get a glimpse into their lives, as well as a sense of what it was like at each of these retail meccas." —The Wall Street Journal

The twentieth century American department store: a palace of consumption where every wish could be met under one roof – afternoon tea, a stroll through the latest fashions, a wedding (or funeral) planned. It was a place where women, shopper and shopgirl alike, could stake out a newfound independence. Whether in New York or Chicago or on Main Street, USA, men owned the buildings, but inside, women ruled.

In this hothouse atmosphere, three women rose to the top. In the 1930s, Hortense Odlum of Bonwit Teller came to her husband's department store as a housewife tasked with attracting more shoppers like herself, and wound up running the company. Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor championed American designers during World War II--before which US fashions were almost exclusively Parisian copies--becoming the first businesswoman to earn a $1 million salary. And in the 1960s Geraldine Stutz of Henri Bendel re-invented the look of the modern department store. With a preternatural sense for trends, she inspired a devoted following of ultra-chic shoppers as well as decades of copycats.

In When Women Ran Fifth Avenue, journalist Julie Satow draws back the curtain on three visionaries who took great risks, forging new paths for the women who followed in their footsteps. This stylish account, rich with personal drama and trade secrets, captures the department store in all its glitz, decadence, and fun, and showcases the women who made that beautifully curated world go round.
© Beowulf Sheehan
JULIE SATOW is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Plaza, a New York Times’ Editor’s Choice and NPR Favorite Book of 2019. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times. View titles by Julie Satow

Meet the women profiled in When Women Ran Fifth Avenue

About

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A glittering portrait of the golden age of American department stores and of three visionary women who led them, from the award-winning author of The Plaza. • "Ms. Satow’s carefully researched book is compulsively readable: I found myself dashing through it like a novel. She portrays the women with verve; we get a glimpse into their lives, as well as a sense of what it was like at each of these retail meccas." —The Wall Street Journal

The twentieth century American department store: a palace of consumption where every wish could be met under one roof – afternoon tea, a stroll through the latest fashions, a wedding (or funeral) planned. It was a place where women, shopper and shopgirl alike, could stake out a newfound independence. Whether in New York or Chicago or on Main Street, USA, men owned the buildings, but inside, women ruled.

In this hothouse atmosphere, three women rose to the top. In the 1930s, Hortense Odlum of Bonwit Teller came to her husband's department store as a housewife tasked with attracting more shoppers like herself, and wound up running the company. Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor championed American designers during World War II--before which US fashions were almost exclusively Parisian copies--becoming the first businesswoman to earn a $1 million salary. And in the 1960s Geraldine Stutz of Henri Bendel re-invented the look of the modern department store. With a preternatural sense for trends, she inspired a devoted following of ultra-chic shoppers as well as decades of copycats.

In When Women Ran Fifth Avenue, journalist Julie Satow draws back the curtain on three visionaries who took great risks, forging new paths for the women who followed in their footsteps. This stylish account, rich with personal drama and trade secrets, captures the department store in all its glitz, decadence, and fun, and showcases the women who made that beautifully curated world go round.

Author

© Beowulf Sheehan
JULIE SATOW is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Plaza, a New York Times’ Editor’s Choice and NPR Favorite Book of 2019. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times. View titles by Julie Satow

Media

Meet the women profiled in When Women Ran Fifth Avenue