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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York Cool - Fashion

Michael Vollbracht's Biography
Courtesy of Jonathan Marder
and Company Inc.

Opposite Photo:
Michael Vollbracht and
Fashion Icon Iris Apfel
Photographed by
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan



 

Michael Vollbracht is a fashion designer whose clients include Elizabeth Taylor, First Lady Laura Bush, Cher, Cheryl Tiegs and many more. Even Joan Crawford, Peter Allen, Trisha Nixon, and Larry Hagman have worn his clothes. His creations have been worn by Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, and Beyoncè on numerous magazine covers including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and O, the Oprah Magazine. He is also a painter, illustrator, and author of distinction.

Until May of 2007, Vollbracht was the Creative Director of Bill Blass, LTD., a position he occupied for five years. In 1999, Blass had tapped Vollbracht to catalog his work as a designer, which resulted in Bill Blass: An American Designer. Vollbracht also worked with Blass as designer of the retrospective exhibition of Blass’ career, which opened at Blass’s own Indiana University’s art museum in Bloomington, Indiana, in October 2002.

Michael Vollbracht was born in 1947 in Quincy, Illinois. He studied for three years at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where his drawings and sketches quickly gained prominent attention. He was chosen to receive the coveted Norman Norell award. Bill Blass who became a mentor presented the award.

1n 1969, Geoffrey Beene selected Vollbracht to become a member of his design team, and he became an integral part of the house. In 1970 Mr. Beene chose him to design Beene Bazaar. In 1971, his talents were recognized by Donald Brooks who hired him to work under his label as the designer for the boutique Donald Brooks for two years.

1n 1979, Vollbracht launched the Michael Vollbracht Collection which was known for its bold shapes and graphic prints which sold at boutiques and major department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus. In 1980, after just one year of business, Vollbracht received the prestigious Coty American Fashion Critics Award: Designer of the Year.

In 1985, Vollbracht wrote, illustrated, and published, Nothing Sacred (now a collector’s item and in its second printing) a visual diary of his 25 years in New York City and the glamorous personalities he interacted with from the worlds of fashion, stage, and screen. In that same year, he closed the doors of his business to concentrate on his art. Vollbracht was selected in 1989 by The New Yorker as one of its top illustrators, producing collages and drawings for the magazine for over half a decade. In Women’s Wear Daily’s “Millennium Issue,” Vollbracht was called one of the top illustrators in the last half-century.

Michael Vollbracht’s work has been displayed in museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Smithsonian Institution. His illustrations are internationally known and his artwork is included in many private collections, among them former President Gerald Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paloma Picasso.

 

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