James Galanos in 1968.

James Galanos, who dressed Nancy Reagan and scores of other society women, died Oct. 30 at his West Hollywood, Calif., home at age 92. After studying in New York and Paris, he founded his atelier in Los Angeles, where he caught the eyes of the Beverly Hills set. Attuned to providing white-glove service to his wealthy clients, he often lamented the lack of elegance and propriety in American fashion. “Once everyone started wearing blue jeans, I knew it was time to get out of the business. What happened to the days when a woman could turn heads in a restaurant by the way she was dressed?” After his fashion days, he focused on photography and art. “I had big ambitions to do what I wanted to do, and I accomplished that in 50 years in business. But I decided my time was up. Life changes, new things happen. I felt I had the best time and I wanted to go out on top.”

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