By  on March 27, 2006

NEW YORK — Never at a loss for words, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg always spoke their minds, on topics ranging from design, global sourcing and domestic production to their successors. Here, some of the thoughts they expressed to WWD while building the company they began in February 1976, and after they retired in June 1989.

“I envision my clothes for working women, although that’s not always the case. Actually, they’re for active, young-minded women who want to put themselves together for under $150. I try to eliminate gimmicks so that the clothes are affordable.”
Liz Claiborne, 1976

“When Art formed his consulting company, it was with the idea that I might join him. It was a combination of personal and professional reasons. We often discussed work and used each other’s knowledge.”
Liz Claiborne, 1977

“There is an immediacy about our company that we don’t want to lose. We want to keep it as simple as possible — that’s why we have avoided computerization.”
Art Ortenberg, 1977

“I think it works beautifully.”
Liz Claiborne, 1977, of being a business partner with her husband

“It works particularly well with second marriages.”
Art Ortenberg, 1977

“Dynamic growth has to be financed properly. We are capitalized properly through the efforts of private investors and the firm’s partners, who own a good percentage of the company. We have to stay within certain cost parameters for efficient and professional growth.”
Art Ortenberg, 1977

“I hold final veto power. It can be a little difficult on the designers to work for this company, because they have to throw out some of their good ideas that just aren’t mine.”
Liz Claiborne, 1984

“Designers used to be notorious for coming in late, leaving early and taking long lunch hours. Not any more. Designers today work like hell.”
Liz Claiborne, 1984

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