“We all must maintain freedom to show off individuality.” Adolfo Sardina (1)
Adolfo Sardina was born February 15, 1933 in Cardenas, Cuba. Adolfo, who never uses his last name professionally, started out as an apprentice to the renowned designer, Balenciaga, in Paris. He immigrated to New York in 1948 after being encouraged to do so by American buyers. He started his career as a hat designer, with the belief that that if he could design a hat, he could design anything. In 1955, he won his first Coty Award for his designs. His hats quickly developed a reputation, which helped him gain a large following. “I started as a milliner, but I never enjoyed making hats. But I met the clients who became my dress clients,” Adolfo said of his career.
Adolfo started his own company in 1962 and began making suits, that many called “Chanel copies,” as well as luxurious evening gowns. He also began pairing silk skirts with Chanel jackets, insisting that it was actually Chanel who was copying him. He was then awarded his second Coty award in 1969 for his unique women’s wear designs. He started designing menswear in 1976 and his brand continued to grow when he began designing shirts, active wear, personal leather goods, perfume, ladies’ blouses and knits, and more. His menswear collections earned him a nomination for this third Coty award.
The Duchess of Windsor, one of Adolfo’s loyal clients, introduced the designer to Betsy Bloomingdale, Babe Paley, and First Lady Nancy Reagan, all future clients of his. In 1982, Adolfo became a member of one of the most prestigious groups in the Fashion Industry, The CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America). He resigned in 1993 because he decided to focus more on his licensing business.
Happy birthday, Adolfo!
Written by Caroline Vazzana, Stylitics Ambassador from Albright College