Monday, January 10, 2011

Rondina-Manzo, 1969

There are days when my research for this blog takes me on a fascinating journey. Take a look at this sweet polka-dotted coat that was pictured in a full page ad in March of 1969. I really like this coat, and you can tell from the photo that is is very well made with fine tailoring. The wide white belt that sits above the waist sets off the fuller skirt to perfection. But Rondina-Manzo? Never heard of them.

So begins my journey. First, I learned that the Rondina portion of the company is Bill Rondina, who studied at Parsons School of Design in New York before joining the fine coat and suit house of Ben Zuckerman. He worked there as a design assistant for a year before Zuckerman retired and closed his business in January of 1968. In the spring of 1968, Rondina and his partner produced a 5-piece collection which sold well enough for them to produce a larger grouping for the fall of 1968. The polka-dot coat above was part of a line for spring of 1969, but then the small company disappears and presumably went out of business.

Rondina himself does not mention Rondina-Manzo in any of his current biographical information, which is too bad, as those of us who love quality vintage clothing would surely like to know about the line and it's successes and failures. Rondina went on to work at Christian Dior-New York. In 1973, he opened his own design studio. In 1981, he founded The Carlisle Collection, a line of high quality women's clothing offered through private consultants and by appointment only in the company's private showroom on 52nd St. in New York.