NEW YORK — Adrienne Steckling-Coen, better known as "Adri," a sportswear designer respected for her clean lines and colorful patterns, died Sunday of Parkinson's disease at her home here at the age of 71.
Adri was born Mary Adrienne Steckling on Nov. 7, 1934 in St. Joseph, Mo. She attended the School of Fine Arts in St. Louis, where she won a guest editor's spot at Mademoiselle magazine in New York. While there, Adri decided to transfer to the Parsons School of Design. It was at Parsons that Adri met her mentor, Claire McCardell, a critic at the school.
Adri graduated from Parsons in 1958 and embarked on a series of fashion assistantships that would land her in the studios of designers such as Oleg Cassini and Anne Fogarty. She also worked at retailer B.H. Wragge up until the launch of her own collection for Adri Designs Inc. in 1966. Adri launched many sportswear lines from that point forward under several different labels, including Collectors Items and Clothes Circuit.
Particularly at the beginning of Adri's career, her clothes were heavily influenced by McCardell. The two shared a staunch dedication to creating clothes for the modern woman.
In 1966, WWD quoted Adri on the eve of the launch of her first collection: "My fashion direction is unequivocally contemporary. I want to break down the barriers. This is not a sportswear collection….These are clothes — costumes, pantsuits, dresses, at-home things — for the woman who leads an active life," she said.
Adri opened Adri Studio Limited on Seventh Avenue in 1976, which made women's designer sportswear. The collections were designed "for the modern woman who can be elegant without being too ‘froufrou,'" said Adri's former assistant, Nadia Abdella, on Monday.
The business remains today, but is now a private client, buy-and-order-based business run out of Adri's loft on West 20th Street. It plans to still issue a spring collection.
Jeanne Atkinson, former chief executive officer of Adri Ltd., said, "She was one of the most consistent designers I have ever known." In her designing, "Adri was a real purist and very much of an iconoclast. [She was her] own woman."Adri was recognized with a Coty American Fashion Critics "Winnie" award in 1982. The Smithsonian Institution acknowledged both McCardell and Adri's contribution to the burgeoning sportswear sector in a 1971 exhibit titled "Innovative Contemporary Fashion: Adri and McCardell."
Beyond all else, Adri was dedicated to her craft and "was reviewing patterns and colors until the end," said her nephew, Michael Camerini.
In addition to her nephew, Adri is survived by her two sons, Paul and Axel Coen.
Details of the memorial service were unavailable at press time.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews