Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Today we continue our interview with Susan Goldworm, daughter of Robert Goldworm, designer extraordinaire of the fabulous Goldworm one of a kind knit outfits.

Marge: What Goldworm outfits do you own that are your absolute favorites and why are they your favorites?

Susan: Of all the pieces I have – I do still have 4 top favorites. They are all one-of-a-kind samples which make them so special to me. My two nieces will have to argue over who gets what! The first two were from the original Goldworm label and made in Italy. One is a back merino wool bugle beaded sheath dress. In my opinion and I am a bit biased…one of the best little black dresses ever made! It still is in style, and has held its shape and I have not lost a bead yet. You would never know that this garment is 40 plus years old. The second is a knit sequined leopard tank top. Again, still very much in style and over 40 years old. The last 2 are from the year before my father closed the business to retire. A bright pink silk tulips print dress, with coordinating sweater. The sweater is my choice piece. It was made by taking the printed silk of the dress, cutting it into 1” thick strips and then each strip was wrapped with very fine pieces of pink wool, the strips of wool wrapped fabric were then knitted into a sweater. The final piece is my “coat of many colors” silk blouse with knit rib cuffs and matching sweater. (the last two items were unavailable at the time of this interview to be photographed).

Marge: What do you think was your father's greatest contribution to the world of fashion?

Susan: His greatest contribution to the fashion industry came from his love of multi colored intarsia knit garments. My father was one of the first to use this method in knitwear on machines with up to 12 colors throughout the knitted goods.

Seated in a spiderweb of his own designs is the gentleman who is responsible for the knitted fashions favored by the American woman who travels fastest, farthest and neatest. Young (32 years) Bob Goldworm, partner with his mother in a 30-year-old New York knitwear business, is one of the first Americans to reverse the flow of designing talent which hitherto has continually brought Europeans to America. He goes to Italy to design styles in the American tradition - a clean-cut silhouette with no clutter. Three years ago the firm produced the first full-length dress made like a flat knit cardigan sweater, and since then the Goldworms have taken over a factory near Milan to produce dresses for the American Market. The Goldworm product is based on Italian hand-fashioning, a process which builds the shape in and tailors seams and edges in a manner that cannot be duplicated by U.S. machines. Seven variations of this chemise look are shown above. Clockwise from the model seated at the left are a two-piece middy dress with pleated skirt ($45); semi-fitted chemise ($40); striped "bag" ($35); cardigan coat to be worn with or without a matching sheath ($125); sheath with short striped jacket ($55); shirt dress ($35) and two-piece sweater dress($45). The shoes are low-heeled T-strap sandals by Joyce ($14). Dresses are available at Lord and Taylor, New York, Blum's, Philadelphia; Gidding's, Cincinnati; Himelhoch, Detroit; Bramson's, Chicago; Rich's, Inc., Atlanta; and Ransohoff's, San Francisco. (pictures and article courtesy of Sports Illustrated and provided by Susan Goldworm).

Marge: What did your father do after retiring in 1981?

Susan: In 1981 my father closed the doors of his business, but he never stopped creating. He enrolled at the School of Visual Arts and the Sculpture Center, where he devoted himself to his new work. I remember being most impressed by his sculptures. He commuted between his homes on the Pacific Palisades, Wainscot, NY and Manhattan. He loved to play tennis and did so daily.

Susan and Bob Goldworm in 1991

Dad and my stepmom, Carla, in 1981

We'd like to thank Susan for sharing her father with us. As a vintage clothing store owner, it has been my pleasure to find several Goldworms in my time. While they all differed in color and pattern the quality shined through on each and every one. Here are a few more samples of the genius of Robert Goldworm.

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