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Guide to the Raymond Driscoll scrapbook and sketches, circa 1942-1961

Collection Overview

Repository
Kellen Design Archives
Creator
Driscoll, Raymond, 1915-2004
Title
Raymond Driscoll scrapbook and fashion sketches, circa 1942-1961
Extent
1.2 linear ft: 2 binders, 1 box
Summary
With a career that extended from the 1930s to the 1960s, Raymond Driscoll (1915-2004) was perhaps most widely known for his annual best and worst-dressed lists. He also achieved recognition for his costume designs for Mexican film stars. The collection is comprised of Driscoll's scrapbook of photographs, news clippings, invitations, and greeting cards from film stars and politicians documenting his work in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as original fashion sketches.

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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.

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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."

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Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 2 series. Scrapbooks are arranged in Driscoll's original order.

  1. Fashion sketches, 1950s-1960s
  2. Scrapbook, circa 1942-circa 1961

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives Aug 23, 2010

66 5th Ave./
lobby level/
New York, NY, 10011
212.229.5942
archivist@newschool.edu

Access Restrictions

The scrapbook in its original condition prior to preservation measures has been scanned. The resulting digital files may be consulted onsite in the Kellen Design Archives.

Use Restrictions

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by the Gershwin Hotel, 2005.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Genre(s)

  • Scrapbooks.
  • Sketches.

Occupation(s)

  • Fashion designers.

Subject(s)

  • Celebrities -- Clothing.
  • Costume design.
  • Fashion design.
  • Motion pictures -- Mexico.
  • Women's clothing industry.

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Collection Inventory

Title Box Folder
Series I. Fashion sketches 1950s-1960s 

Sketches depict "slacksuits" (pantsuits), evening and wedding gowns, bathing suits, dresses, and shirts. Renderings executed in watercolor and ink.

1 1-13

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Title Binder
Series II. Scrapbook circa 1942-circa 1961  1-2

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Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

Copyright © 2010 Kellen Design Archives, The New School. All rights reserved.

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