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Raymond Driscoll scrapbook and fashion sketches

 Collection
Identifier: KA-0013-01

Summary

With a career that spanned the 1930s to the 1960s, Raymond Driscoll (1915-2004) was perhaps most widely known for his annual best and worst-dressed lists. He also gained recognition for his costume designs for Mexican film stars. The collection consists of Driscoll's scrapbook of photographs, clippings, invitations, and greeting cards from celebrities documenting his work in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as original fashion sketches.

Dates

  • circa 1942 - 1961

Creator

Extent

0.9 Cubic Feet (2 binders, 1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Spanish; Castilian

Scope and Contents of Collection

The collection consists of a scrapbook assembled by Raymond Driscoll to document his career and 84 fashion sketches of women's and girl's apparel.

The scrapbook contains newspaper and magazine clippings in English and in Spanish, correspondence with celebrities and media personalities, merchandising materials featuring Driscoll's clothing designs, black and white photographs of Driscoll engaged in various antics, and photographs autographed by American and Mexican film stars, including Robert Goulet, Gilbert Roland, Evangelina Elizondo, and Yolanda Montes.

The fashion sketches consist of watercolor and ink renderings, accompanied by playful titles, many with Mexican connotations such as "Toreador Triumph" and "Hola! New York!" All are signed "Ray Driscoll."

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Biographical note

Raymond Driscoll was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1915. According to newspaper clippings in his scrapbook, his early career included designing for the House of Worth in London. Returning to the United States, Driscoll opened a jewelry store in New York City around 1944, but it did not flourish. In 1945, Driscoll moved to Los Angeles where he lectured on fashion and jewelry at the Chouinard Art Institute and began to develop his own fanciful lines of clothing as well as outlandish couture pieces for special clients. Examples include gowns decorated with wine corks and diet pills. While in Los Angeles, Driscoll also served as the fashion editor for the Beverly Hills Bulletin.

In the mid-1940s, Driscoll adapted Eleanor Lambert’s popular best-dressed celebrity list into a scathing and witty “worst-dressed” celebrity list. He continued to update and revise the list at least through the mid-1950s. As intended, Driscoll’s worst-dressed lists attracted much attention and publicity. He also compiled his own best-dressed lists.

In 1950, Driscoll moved to Mexico City, where he became involved in the design and production of Mexican films. He also authored articles on fashion and style for Mexican newspapers. Driscoll opened a clothing store in Houston in 1955, and by 1957 he was back in New York designing loungewear for Kamore Robes.

Raymond Driscoll died on December 25, 2004. Little is known of the last four decades of his life.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 2 series: I. Fashion sketches, 1950s-1960s; II. Scrapbook, circa 1942-circa 1961. Scrapbooks are arranged in Driscoll's original order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Gershwin Hotel, 2005.

Title
Guide to the Raymond Driscoll scrapbook and fashion sketches
Status
Completed
Author
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
Date
August 23, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin