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Guide to the Mary Ann Restivo fashion runway video recordings, 1982-1990

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Mary Ann Restivo (Firm).


Restivo, Mary Ann, 1940-2015


Mary Ann Restivo fashion runway video recordings, 1982-1990


1.1 linear ft: 1 box (13 U-matic videotapes)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of thirteen video recordings documenting Mary Ann Restivo, Inc. fashion shows spanning the 1980s into Fall 1990.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Mary Ann Restivo fashion runway video recordings, KA.0073.01, box 1, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical Note

Mary Ann Restivo was born in 1940, in South Orange, New Jersey. Following her father, who was a master tailor and owned a small clothing store, she studied retail and fashion design at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey and at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York between 1958 and 1961.

Restivo worked for several design companies, starting at the junior sportswear company Abby Michael in 1961. Over the years, she also worked for Bernard Levine, Petti for Jack Winter, Something Special, Sports Sophisticates and Mary Ann Restivo for Genre. She became the head designer of the women's blouse division of Dior New York in 1974, and she stayed with Dior until 1980, when with the help of investors she opened her own company, Mary Ann Restivo, Inc. Her line was a pioneer in career and professional clothing for women in the 1980s, with a focus "on good fit, excellent materials and manufacture, personal luxury without ostentation, and wearable good taste." She was also one of the first women designers to direct a fashion company.

In 1988, a major Seventh Avenue company, Leslie Fay Corporation, bought Mary Ann Restivo, Inc., and she stayed with the division as a designer until 1992, when Leslie Fay dropped her line. In the following years Restivo worked as an independent design consultant for Saks Fifth Avenue and Burberry. In 1999, she returned to design under her own name and introduced scarf and home accessories lines.

She received many awards for her work, including the Hecht Company Young Designers Award in 1968, and the Mortimer C. Ritter Award from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1973. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College of St. Elizabeth in 1986 and the Alumnus of the Year Award, American Association of Community and Junior Colleges in 1992. In 1993, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor award.

Restivo was also active in professional organizations, a long-time member of the Council for Fashion Designers of America, a member of the Board of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and an advisor and designer critic at Parsons School of Design between 1992 and 2001.

Restivo died in 2015.


Feitelberg, Rosemary. 2015. "Designer Mary Ann Restivo Dies" Accessed March 16, 2018. http://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/designer-mary-ann-restivo-dies-8091753/

Martin, Richard. n.d. "Mary Ann Restivo - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia" Accessed March 16, 2018. http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/Pi-Ro/Restivo-Mary-Ann.html


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Scope and Content of Collection

Consists of thirteen U-matic videotapes documenting fashion shows produced to promote Mary Ann Restivo, Inc. seasonal collections. The tapes span the 1980s, the decade in which Restivo achieved fame as a designer of women's business attire.

Tape description is based on labels affixed to the cassette; The New School Archives staff has not evaluated the accuracy of the labels. The fashion shows only document Mary Ann Restivo, Inc. collections, and do not include her earlier design work, nor do they document her later, post-Lesley Fay work.

The tape title refers to the season for which a collection is designed, not the year in which the fashion show took place. For example, the fashion show documented in the Spring 1983 tape would date to 1982 as the fashion show would have transpired several months prior to the Spring 1983 season.


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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order by season according to tape labels.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - March 27, 2018

66 5th Avenue
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Mary Ann Restivo fashion runway video recordings, KA.0073.01, box 1, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use, but no access copies of these recordings are currently available. Researchers desiring access and willing to pay a digitization fee may do so upon consultation with The New School Archives. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for further information.

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

These videotapes were found on shelves in The New School Archives along with audiovisual items produced by or related to Parsons School of Design. The provenance of these videos is unknown.

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Related Materials

Documentation on Mary Ann Restivo's role as a visiting critic for Parsons School of Design's Fashion Design Department will be found in the Parsons School of Design fashion critic direction audio recordings (PC.07.02.01) and the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (PC.02.02.01).

A Mary Ann Restivo collection is held by the Fashion Institute of Technology's Special Collections and FIT Archives.


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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Videocassettes.


  • Fashion designers.


  • Fashion design.
  • Fashion shows.
  • Women's clothing industry.

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Collection Inventory

Spring 1983 
Fall 1983 
Spring 1984 
Fall 1984 
Spring 1985 
Spring 1986 
Fall 1986 unedited 
Spring 1987 
Spring 1988 
Fall 1988 
Spring 1989 
Fall 1989 
Fall 1990 

Collection Guide Last Updated: 03/27/2018

Creative Commons License This collection guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.