Oldřich Rosenbaum/Oldric Royce

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A Life in Fashion from Prague to New York Design – Profiles – Key Figures edition series This publication highlights the life and work of the Prague dressmaker and fashion designer Oldřich (Ulrich) Rosenbaum (1896–1991), who in the course of more than seventy years developed an elegant and always highly modern style of clothing for wealthy clients in Czechoslovakia and the United States (where he was known as Oldric Royce), and owned exclusive fashion houses in Prague, Carlsbad, and New York City. The book traces the development of his dressmaking business from its founding by Elisabeth Stein (who married a Rosenbaum), in 1881, to its heyday in the Czechoslovak Republic between the two world wars, its decline beginning with the German occupation from March 1939 to May 1945, including its “aryanization” in the early 1940s, to its nationalization following the Communist takeover in 1948, and even afterwards. Discussing the lives of Rosenbaum’s family members, colleagues, and clients, the publication provides a vivid picture of the Czech-Jewish-German milieu of interwar Prague. The professional activities of Oldric Royce – as Oldřich Rosenbaum called himself after moving to the United States in 1939 – culminated in the founding and operation of a highly successful fashion house in New York City, which earned him professional recognition. Amongst his clientele were politicians’ wives (including First Ladies), well-known actresses like Ginger Rogers and Marlene Dietrich, and some of the richest Americans, like the businesswoman, philanthropist, and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post. The book is based on archival research, interviews with eye-witnesses, period newspapers and magazines, and research in the costume collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C., the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. To help fill out to the picture of Rosenbaum’s life and work, the volume contains more than 180 plates, including photos of dresses from the collections of the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.