|Louise Barnes Gallagher, photo provided by her granddaughter, Mary-Louise.|
Louise Barnes Gallagher (1892 - 1972) was born and raised in New York City. As a child, she sewed clothing both for her dolls and for herself. She became a young widow when her husband was killed in WWI. Needing to earn a living, she began her career as a model for a wholesale dress house in New York. At night, she continued to hone her dressmaking skills at home and took classes in draping and sculpture. Modeling soon bored Louise and she spent more and more time in the workrooms of the dress house learning about construction techniques.
The designer was best known for her use of a sheer knitted wool mesh fabric which came to be known as "Gallagher mesh". She often used many, many buttons in her designs. Her clothing was very expensive and was carried by the most exclusive stores in America. The dress shown above sold for $98.95 in 1945 (about $1203.00 in today's dollar).
Louise Barnes Gallagher wearing one of her Gallagher mesh suits with many buttons down the front. Photo provided by Louise's granddaughter, Mary-Louise.
In 1949, Louise decided to retire and turned her company over to Jerry Gibbs, one of her employees. The company's name was changed to Gallagher Mesh. She continued to oversee the company's collections for a short while. Mentions of the company Gallagher Mesh disappear after 1952. Louise continued to design patterns for American Designer Patterns and she wrote books about the fashion industry for young girls considering a career. She died in 1972.
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