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Arnold Scaasi
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Designer
    (May 8, 1930-August 3, 2015)
    Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Birth name was Arnold Isaacs
    Clients included Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Hilary Clinton, Laura Bush, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Catherine Deneuve, Diahann Carroll, Mary Tyler Moore, Sofia Loren, Natalie Wood, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Walters, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Beverly Sils, Joan Rivers, Brooke Astor, Ivana Trump and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
    Wrote 'Scaasi: A Cut Above' (1996) and 'Women I Have Dressed (And Undressed)' (2004)
    Received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (1996)
    He revered his last name because the result sounded vaguely Italian.
    He ended his ready-to-wear line after eight years, complaining that the public was too into following the latest trend.
    He said, 'American women lack the innate good taste of European women. Designers have to trick American women into being stylish.'
    Fellow designer Josh Patner, who worked for Scaasi in the 80s, claimed, 'He threw a pair of scissors at me once.'
    He said his biggest mistake was asking Jacqueline Kennedy to pay wholesale costs for any dresses he designed for her as First Lady instead of agreeing to give them for free in return for the publicity.
    Instead, Oleg Cassini ended up as Jackie's designer during the White House years.
    He designed one of the most famous outfits in Oscar ceremony history: the see-through pantsuit Barbra Streisand wore to accept Best Actress (1969).
    The inaugural gown he designed for Barbara Bush is on display at the Smithsonian.
    He said, 'It should be fun to get dressed. I like exciting and pretty clothes that help women feel exciting and pretty.'
    He and partner Parker Ladd were together for over 50 years.
    After he designed a gown for opera singer Joan Sutherland, she told him, 'I have never felt pretty in my life. Tonight I feel really pretty.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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