Fashion critic Bernadine Morris died on Jan. 12, according to a report in The New York Times. She was 92.
Morris got her start at WWD as a dress editor, covering what she referred to as “cheap dresses” (a beat that entailed maternity, juniors and plus sizes), before going on to The New York Times in 1963. Morris began by covering what was then called “women’s news” — which consisted of “fashion, food, furniture and family,” as she described it to WWD. Eventually, she focused exclusively on fashion and became an influential voice in the industry.
“Bernadine was a remarkably fast, accurate reporter. In the pre-Internet days, she would file on deadline from the Paris showings, for example, with precisely the story length she had specified, and the number of pictures needed. No editing required,” said Nancy Newhouse, who was the editor of the style department at the Times from 1978 to 1989.
Morris reminisced about landing the job at WWD for the 90th anniversary edition in 2001.
“I remember when I came in to be interviewed. It was June and I was wearing a straw hat with a big brim. I thought that’s what you should wear. I wouldn’t have hired me. I wore gold slippers and a bright blue silk shantung dress. When I think of how I walked in there….I certainly didn’t look chic,” she said.
Morris won an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1987 and the Fashion Group International’s Superstar award in 1994. She was the author of books on fashion, including books on Valentino and Arnold Scaasi.
After 31 years at the Times, Morris took a buyout from the paper in 1994. “It’s a question of facts and figures, mainly figures. It’s such a good deal. You can’t afford not to take it,” she told WWD at the time. “Thirty-one years at the Times is enough. One might as well leave when one is ahead.”
Morris is survived by a daughter, Cara Michelle Morris, and a son, Michael Morris. Neither could be reached for comment. Her husband, Jesse Morris, died in 2011.