A manufacturer of women’s suits and coats, the company was founded by Frank Gallant in 1916. Gallant’s son Herbert joined the company in 1945 and became president in 1955. Tom Brigance was the designer as of 1951 and stayed into the 1960s. Frank Gallant died 1965. In 1965, the head designer was Martin Unger, who moved to Zelinka-Matlick that year.
Frank Gallant, Inc. sold women’s coats and suits to such stores as Saks, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, De Pinna, and Altman’s. The company name was changed to Gallant International in 1968. They held licenses for Cardin Coats starting in 1976, and also had the Geoffrey Beene for Gallant line. Robert Gallant became president in 1998. Herbert Gallant died 2007.
Written by pastperfectvintage.com via The Vintage Fashion Guild
That’s right – I said it. Label whore. I always thought this was a ridiculous expression. It’s a sort of slang to describe someone that only wears brand name clothing. While I haven’t heard the term in ages, I always understood to to refer to people that equate labels to taste. It simply isn’t true. Taste and style are all about the right silhouette for your body, and the right pairing of clothing and accessories to express your personality. Buying and wearing something solely based on a brand name is not a great strategy for developing personal style. There’s much more to it than that.
I certainly have favorite designers and labels. But there is something about the arrangement of fashion that is personal. It’s creating a composition: various elements are arranged on your body to communicate something about who you are. This can’t be dictated by a brand, but discovered through trial and error.
As I was out buying new items for the store, this label caught my eye. It was located on a brightly colored plaid scarf. The beautiful colors had already grabbed my attention, but such a beautiful label made me drop everything. Who was Herbert Gallant? I’d never heard of him before. The label sat there and taunted me. Questions flurried through my mind: was he French? Or American? And when was it from? Could Gallant be (or have been) someone important?
The scarf was included in my purchases. I was lost in thought while at the checkout. A mystery was in front of me, and I couldn’t wait to solve it. I paid and left. But somewhere in the parking lot, I wondered to myself, “Does this make me a label whore?” I had, after all, purchased a pretty scarf mostly based on a label I knew nothing about. Maybe I was venturing into the realm of fashion promiscuity.
Luckily, I checked my email when I got home. When 140 Characters Aren’t Enough was waiting in my inbox. Sometimes, I think Lizzie Bramlett writes things just for me. Her post discusses how many vintage resellers don’t include photographs of labels. How irksome! Labels give so much information about the brand and era that a garment was made. She showed us the evolution of the White Stag label, from 1955 to present day. As a seller myself, I know I couldn’t possibly write a description that covers the an entire history of a designer or brand. That is why I always include photos of any tags or markings when I list an item. Having worked in the art market, buyers demand signatures and authentication. What happens if a painting isn’t signed? Without a solid provenance (chronology of ownership) and letter of authentication from experts, the artwork is virtually unsellable. Why should a garment be any different?
The Vintage Fashion Guild has an excellent label resource, which I highly recommend. Collectors and members upload images of labels and contribute biographical entries. There is so much information on just about any designer you want to know. From their site, I was able to find out that Herbert Gallant was the son of Frank Gallant. With a quick click, I found his biography:
My instincts were spot on. I’m not relying on a label or brand to establish my style. However, I recognize there is importance behind a name. Labels carry a certain sense of history with them. It’s worth paying attention to them. Understanding a label and what it represents doesn’t make you – or me – a label whore. It makes us smarter consumers.