Work Begins
Married Life
Honors and Awards

From Work Grew Friendships

The staff of "sample hands", consisted of a half dozen, mostly German women, who were wonderfully skilled in their craft. Jeanne respected their talents and grew very fond of them. They didn't come and go like some other positions at Sportwhirl; some sample makers were there even longer than Jeanne.
Serving as her "right hand" was the job of Jeanne's assistant. The array of (mostly young women) assistants Jeanne had over many years, were of varying talents. Some were models that were eager to learn on the job, and others were so good that they even went on to become successful designers on their own. Assistant designers such as: Lili Whitmer, Brita Szytbel (from Finland), Jan MacDonald (from England), Lee Shull, Cathy Ferro, and Jane Zemba all remained in touch after employment at Sportwhirl had ended. Working with Jeanne was very demanding, but was a learning experience, and most developed a close friendship with her.

Taking a personal interest in all aspects of the firm, on a couple of occasions, Jeanne even decorated the Sportwhirl showroom with cheerful storybook illustrations.

Jeanne frequently distinguished herself by reinventing older classic fashions. The American Fashion Critics jury gave Jeanne one of the Coty Awards in 1955--an award bestowed for outstanding contributions to the field of American design. She was particularly cited for her dress-length sheath, which was adapted from the classic cardigan sweater. Due to popularity, Jeanne had to bring the sheath out season after season, in dozens of materials from linen to velvet, including a horizontally striped cotton knit jersey inspired by her husband's knit ties.

Sportwhirl was very proud of their designer, and in 1955 they created a special retailer's folder touting her achievements for their firm which included the Coty, the fashion world's most coveted honor, and the cover of Vogue. But the awards and magazine features didn't end there.

In 1958, Jeanne was honored with the Sports Illustrated's "American Sportswear Design Award". This "Designer of the Year Award", was dedicated "To the women's sportswear designer who, during the past year, has made the most significant contribution to American sportswear through a specific collection, idea, or innovation."
In Eugenia Sheppard's "Inside Fashion" column for the NY Herald Tribune (May 30th, 1958) she wrote about Jeanne receiving the Sports Illustrated award, "Jeanne's young, inexpensive clothes have worldwide distribution. Look for them under a Sportwhirl label. She has the same endearing modesty that made Claire McCardell a great person as well as a great designer."

Travel was very important to Jeanne, and she saw most of the world. Getting to see the Paris pret-a-porter lines and excursions to Finland, Italy, and other cultural European cities were invigorating. In later years, trips to India and British Hong Kong became necessary to oversee the production of block printed wrap skirts and cashmere sweaters for example. Warm, sunny locations like Mexico, the British West Indies, and the Caribbean re-fueled her with their bold, bright colors.

Jeanne was a proud member of The Fashion Group International, Inc. for many years. The FGI is ( a non-profit organization, founded in 1928, of fashion industry professionals providing a forum for contemporary fashion issues, promoting fashion, and providing networking skills and contacts. Through this, she received their newsletter, was invited to benefit galas, fashion presentations, Fashion Group luncheons, shared ideas, and met other professionals in her field.

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