Monday, May 05, 2008

Samuel and Gertrude Goldworm started Goldworm Sportswear in New York City in the late 1920s. They made every day wear knits with attractive designs. In 1953 Mr. Goldworm passed away and their son, Robert then headed the company bringing in a younger look to the Goldworm line.

Today we are interviewing Susan Goldworm, the daughter of Robert Goldworm, designer extraordinaire of the fabulous Goldworm one of a kind knit outfits. If you've never owned a Goldworm you don't know what you're missing. Susan has been very gracious in sharing her memories and also her personal photos.

Marge: Was your father always interested in the family business?

Susan: In 1928 my grandmother Gertrude Goldworm “Mama Gertie” started the Goldworm Knitwear Company. In these early years, production was for knit scarves, shawls, and throws. My dad was 2 years old.

My father graduated from New York University in 1947 and joined the company. As the story goes, he was quite influenced by the family business and after looking at t-shirts came up with the idea of designing knit dresses. The first dress designed was very simple very clean….and the idea came about from a basic round collar T-shirt. My dad traveled to Italy and joined forces with the Dragone family and their small knitwear factory in Milan. In no time, more clean cut, clutter free dresses were produced, a polo dress and the scoop neck, v-neck etc – and the Goldworm knit dress business began to take shape.

Robert and Carol Goldworm on their wedding day
(Mrs. Gertrude Goldworm is the woman in the
beautiful black hat on the left)

Carol and Robert Goldworm relaxing in their

living room during the holidays

Marge: Could you give us a description of your father through your eyes?

Susan: My father travelled extensively to Europe (Milan). I do remember when he was home - sketching and drawing for him and playing backgammon. He was a meticulous man. He was very aware of his surroundings and the details of his persona. I remember his large walk in closet where each item of clothing had its place and was folded just so. Every detail mattered, his socks would coordinate to the paisley in his handkerchief, which matched his tie. (My father ALWAYS carried a handkerchief) I think he was one of the first "metro" men. His nickname to his close friends was Loomie (after the knitting looms). He loved tennis and played daily.

Marge: What pushed your father to go to Milan and seek out specialists for certain types of finishing techniques?

Susan: My father was a perfectionist, requiring superior quality in all that surrounded him and therefore what he produced. This is why he traveled to Milan. He based the production on Italian hand-fashioning, a process which builds shape into the garment and tailors seams and edges. Seams were hand rolled and button holes hand finished. There were no machines available in the United States to produce the garments of quality my father required. My father’s sister Beverly soon joined the business (my Aunt Pop-Pop) and things really started to advance.

Robert Goldworm at his desk (the series of pictures all
in a row on the wall are Susan, her brother's picture is
on the desk and his wife, Carol's picture next to Susan's
series of pictures (Carol was a model, although not for
the Goldworm line).

Robert Goldworm, his sister, Beverly Tuttman

and Ruby Lettman

Marge: Where did your father get his ideas for the patterns that were used?

Susan: Growing up I was surrounded by all kinds of art. There were stacks and stacks of “coffee table” books and pictures and sculptures lined the walls and nooks of our home. A great deal of my fathers designs were influenced by, the artists Mondrian, van Gogh, Jasper Johns, Paul Klee, and Picasso to name a few. He was also influenced by the world around him, for example, examining a stone wall for the patterns that lay inside its design. I think he viewed the world as a painting (through an artist’s eye) looking for beautiful intricate patterns it beholds. He would then translate these patterns to his garments. He loved color and bold prints which complemented the simplicity of the style and the tailoring of the knits. This combination created a loyal customer base, and his dresses were showcased at many of the top retail stores.

From the personal collection of Susan Goldworm

Part Two of our interview with Susan Goldworm will be on Wednesday.


Hoardmeister said...

Marvelous entry, dahling, absolutely fascinating! Even though simplicity is generally my watchword, I adore the patterned dresses, particularly the first blue one, and the fourth one down in the rose pattern. Well done!

Lucy said...

Wow Marge thats a great entry I can't wait to read the next part. You never cease to amaze me with your passion and energy for vintage!

6658927 said...

Fabulous interview - I'd previously researched Goldworm before listing one in my store, but this blog makes all the facts so much more heartfelt & personal.

Susan, in your photo with your Father you are a classic beauty!

Gabrielle Goldworm said...

I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but his designs are beautiful. And the interview definetly sounds like Susan, its wonderful to be able to find information on him, thank you for this entry.

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Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, United States
We are the owners of Mod Mary's Vintage on Etsy.