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Jack Liebman

Born in Ontario, 1907 / Died in Montreal, 1999

DesignerManufacturer

1934 - 1991

In 1937, Jack Liebman left after a three-year stint as manager at Majestic Dresses Ltd. to establish his own company, Jack Liebman Dresses Ltd., at the Somner Building, 423 Mayor Street, in Montreal. A year later, the Fashion Preferred brand was founded, although it is unclear if the two companies were initially one and the same. That they were by 1947 is evidenced by garment labels stating “Original Fashion Preferred Styled by Jack Liebman, Montreal-Canada. Fashion Preferred dresses were distributed throughout Canada.

Liebman’s company apparently prospered during the war, managing to both undermine and support the war effort.

In 1943, he was fined $500 for violating Wartime Prices and Trade Board regulations by selling crepe and wool garments over the recommended price ceilings. From November 1944 to November 1945, Jack Liebman Dresses Ltd. was listed among the businesses where 90% of employees contributed 15% of their salaries to Victory bonds.

Dress (detail), Jack Liebman, 1949. M2015.134.1.1-2 © McCord Museum

In 1945, Fashion Preferred was described as a brand suited to the “Canadian way of life,” featuring “tailored classics to the dressier afternoon and cocktail creations.” Liebman was noted for dresses with diagonal hipline drapery and back detailing. In 1948, he created a dress with back detail in a “Degas” print fabric depicting ballet dancers in pink and white on a black background. In 1949, he adapted Dior’s “flying panel” detail for a dress sold at John Northway and Son Ltd. in Toronto.

Liebman showed dresses at Montreal Fashion Week from 1946 through 1951,

participated in a group show of fall collections by 18 Canadian manufacturers in 1954, and took part in the first Fall Fashion Forum in Montreal in 1956.

In the 1960s, Liebman appears to have turned to distributing other imported lines. In the first part of the decade, he was the exclusive distributor of Pat Sandler for Highlight garments in Canada, his name appearing many times in Vogue advertisements. Only an advertisement for a Jack Liebman Celanese acetate dress in Chatelaine in 1964 suggests that he may have continued to manufacture. On November 30, 1965, Liebman, along with his wife and son, opened Silk Fashions Limited. Described as an “apparel and furnishings” manufacturing company, it ran until 1976. From 1975 to 1977, Jack Liebman Ltd. was the exclusive Canadian distributor of Lanvin fashions. The Canadian International Property Office lists Jack Liebman Dresses Canada Ltd. as having filed for the trademarks of four brands: Fashion Life, Saint Jacques & Design, Puccini, and Lambsuede. In 1984, Liebman was involved in dealing the brands Gold Label, Aseret, and Tricoville. In 1989, Liebman showed designs from the brands Tricoville, Parigi, St. Jacques, Bellino and Jacqmar.” The managing director of Jack Liebman Dresses Canada Ltd., then described as an importer of women`s mid-range clothes, reported that the company was seeing $5 million in sales yearly, and was to be sold to UTC, a Switzerland-based holding company. Jack Liebman Dresses legally dissolved in 1991. Liebman’s charitable foundation was established in 1964 and officially dissolved in 1986.

Sources

“Action Features for Curling.” Style, May 17, 1961, 49.

Adams, Kathryn. “Montreal Show Forecasts Contrast for Spring, 1950.” The Globe and Mail (1936-Current), November 30, 1949, 14.

“Brown-Toned.” The Ottawa Journal, February 17, 1964, 19.

“Canadian Fashion Image Emerges.” The Brandon Sun, February 8, 1966, 11.

“Canadian Parkas in Italian Fabrics, Fox-Trimmed Seal.” Women’s Wear Daily, October 27, 1960, 27.

“Chez Alfandri, Un Style Sur Dépourvu D’originalité.” Le Devoir, August 23, 1963, 4.

Dobbie, Hannah. “Assembling the Puzzle of Jack Liebman’s Career.” In Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. Ryerson Fashion Research Colection.

———. “A Study of a 1940s Cocktail Dress by Jack Liebman.” In Ryerson Fashion Research Collection.

Douville, Raymond. “The Little Black Dress House.” Gazette officielle du Quebec, March 2, 1963, 18.

“Expert Says Mini Will Win.” Toronto Daily Star, January 4, 1968, 58.

“Fewer ‘Go-Go’ Looks for Spring; Femininity Rules.” The Ottawa Journal, January 24, 1966, 23.

Gostlin, Audrey. “Since Stealing Is Legal in Baseball… The Fashion World Has Swiped a Few Ideas.” The Globe and Mail, August 19, 1972, A14.

Hill, Harriet. “Self-Confidence Is Revealed in Fashion Group Showing.” Montreal Gazette, June 20, 1950, 14.

“Jack Liebman Dresses Bought.” The Gazette, August 9, 1989, 1.

Jones, Kevin. “E-Mail.” 2, 2013.

“Lovell.” In Serie Criss-Cross, edited by Annuaires Lovell, 1054. Montreal, QC: Lovell Publishing, 1982.

“Lovell’s Montreal Alphabetical Directory.” 1626. Montreal, QC: Lovell’s Directory, 1936-1937.

“Lovell’s Montreal Alphabetical Directory.” Montreal, 1951.

“Lovell’s Montreal Alphabetical Directory.” In Annuaires Lovell, edited by Annuaires Lovell, 1381. Montreal, QC: Lovell Publishing, 1934-1935.

“Mini Winning Battle against the Maxiskirt.” The Globe and Mail, February 8, 1968, W2.

“Mme. Malouf.” Canadian Jewish Review, September 22, 1933, 114.

Monahan, Iona. “Show Time!; Fall and Spring Trends Land on Runways.” The Gazette, 1989 Sep 05, F2.

Ness, Margaret. “Canadias Go Frilly Feminine.” The Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 1968, 19.

“Pat Sandler for Highlight.” Vogue, September 1, 1962, 1.

“Preview.” Maclean’s, August 31, 1957, 1.

“Prochains Mariages.” La Presse, June 16, 1942, 5.

Rowe, Kaye. “Mr. Gilbert Honored.” The Brandon Sun, June 25, 1965, 5.

“Saks Fifth Avenue.” New York Times, November 11, 1962, 49.

“Sensationelle Collection Op-Art Dans Le Vieux-Montreal.” Le Devoir, March 25, 1966, 11.

“Short and Snappy.” The Globe and Mail, April 14, 1967, 13.

“Ski Fashions- They’re Gay and Promotable.” Style Fortnightly, July 15, 1959, 24.

“Spanish-Inspired.” Somerset Daily American, April 13, 1967, 8.

Starhemberg, Manfried H. “‘Non-Sculptor’ Creates Form in Sutton.” Sherbrooke Record, September 1 2011, 2.

storyofthings. “Vintage 1950s Mr. Gilbert Lace Cocktial Dress.” etsy.com, External link

Tasso, Lily. “Plus Qu’une Collection: Une Constellation Des Modeles Op Art, Que L’on Oserait Porter.” La Presse, March 24, 1966, 7.

Teague, James. “Canadian Apparel, Footwear Show in N. Y. In Aug.-Sept.” Women’s Wear Daily, July 11, 1952, 12.

TheBirdcageVintage. “1960s Turquoise Printed Cocktail Dress – Vintage Turquoise Wiggle Dress and Jacket – Jack Liebman Size M.” External link

“Untitled.” Style Fortnightly, June 25, 1952.

“Very Saks Fifth Avenue.” Detroit Free Press, December 8, 1964, 23.

Publication date

01/02/2019

Author

Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum

© McCord Museum 2019