Considered as the pioneer and creator of unisex fashion trend, Ted Lapidus lived between 1929 and 2008. He was a French citizen, born in the beautiful city of Paris. His father was a Russian-Jewish tailor. Ted became involved in the family business, since he couldn’t afford the fees of a medical school he wanted to enroll in. Later on, while studying in Tokyo at a technical school, Lapidus envisioned the possibility to incorporate the fabricating methods of high fashion to industrial production. Fashion and apparel design proved to be a much more lucrative business for Ted than medicine and to date his company is survived by his children and other who had interest in it and were willing to invest.
Lapidus is credited for introducing safari and military looks to the haute couture scene. In addition to this, he is also recognized as the first fashion designer to include shoulder straps inspired by military style on the clothing of both females and males. Moreover, the designer is known for changing the role that blue jeans played in the fashion world and brought the style to the mainstream fashion scene.
In 1951, after training with Christian Dior, Ted began his own label. Seven years later he opened an eponymous boutique on Rue Marbeuf with the financial support of Charles Aznavour, his friend. During the 1960s, he garnered prominence when famous French personalities such as Françoise Hardy, Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot started buying and wearing his works. Lapidus became influential internationally and persuaded Lesley Lawson dress up in a suit plus tie rather than mini-skirts. Other than this, John Lennon was also among the many admirers of Lapidus’s creations. Lennon wanted a bag made from white leather. Moreover he designed a white suit for Lennon that he wore while posing on the cover of Abbey Road, an album by The Beatles.
In 1963, Lapidus became a member of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne. In the 1970s, he created the safari suit for men which was popular in Australia then. By the late 70s, the market of haute couture declined and consequently Lapidus invested in fashion accessories such as pens, watches, fragrances and sunglasses.
Ted Lapidus married twice and has a daughter named Eloise as well as two sons, Thomas and Oliver.
In 1989, his son Oliver became in charge of the Lapidus brand. Ted Lapidus died at the age of seventy-nine in Cannes due to pulmonary impediments caused by Leukaemia. The designer is buried in Paris in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Nicolas Sarkazy, French President, paid tribute to Lapidus by saying that the designer democratized French classicism and elegance plus made accessible fashion for both genders. Sarkozy defined Lapidus as the French couture poet.
According to George Simonton (assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology), the tailoring by Lapidus was perfect and fitted all body structures in a beautiful way. He was the pioneer in making denim sexy and stylish.
Among the many recognitions he received for his work, Lapidus is also famous for working with plaid – a crossed vertical and horizontal pattern of two or more colored fabric woven together. The designer was fond of experimenting with different looks and embellishments, he used silver paper, aluminum cuffs and collars, also brass epaulettes and buttons on his military outfits.