Eye On Design: Coat and Pants By Bonnie Cashin With Textiles By Dorothy Liebes

bonnie cashin coat and pants with dorothy liebes textiles photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

American textile designer, weaver, and color authority Dorothy Liebes (18971972) had a profound influence across design fields, helping to shape American tastes in areas from interiors and transportation to industrial design, fashion, and film. The “Liebes Look” of handwoven textures — which combined vivid color, lush texture, and often a glint of metallic — became inextricably linked with the American modern aesthetic.

The Liebes look crossed over into fashion as her fabrics inspired various designers, including her close friend and frequent collaborator, fashion designer Bonnie Cashin. The two women had a close and synergistic relationship: both were lifestyle-driven designers committed to beautiful and functional clothes for active women.  Liebes’ designs with Cashin reinforce the timeless nature of her textiles. 

Cashin used handwoven Liebes fabrics in her luxury lines but also used Liebes-designed fabrics that were mass produced by Jasco in collections throughout the 1960s. Together and separately they helped to disseminate the California style of modern design across the country.

bonnie cashin coat and pants with dorothy liebes textiles photo by gail worley

A great example of their collaborative output is this linen coat and pants set from 1964. The two women shared a passion for clear, saturated hues and Cashin posed this spicy check for the coat. Its spare and elegant suede trim and brass toggle hardware highlight the vibrant colors and subtle textures of the handwoven linen.

Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan.

Leave a Reply