What goes around comes around – just ask Jackie Rogers.
Some four decades after opening Jackie Rogers for Men, a barbershop boutique on Madison Avenue that counted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as customers, Rogers, now 85, has found herself back in the men’s business.
Rogers, muse of Coco Chanel who has also been a big-band singer, Hollywood starlet, New York model and designer over the course of her storied career, dressed many bold-faced names over the years including Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Sammy Davis Jr. and Woody Allen. “All the guys would come and wait,” she said of her barbershop store. “Warren Beatty, Michael Douglas, Dustin Hoffman. Peter O’Toole was my boyfriend and Al Pacino was a customer too, but he had a terrible body, very short legs.”
And while she’s better known these days for her women’s collection — she has a high-end women’s boutique on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla., that sells evening gowns, blouses and resortwear — she’s always had a soft spot for the guys.
She said the only reason she got into the women’s business at all was on the advice of Bill Blass, who told her if she wanted to create a big brand, she needed to go into women’s wear.
“These women drive me insane,” Rogers said, “but when they come to shop, their husbands are with them.” One customer in particular was dressed in a high-priced suit but the “shoulders were hanging off him. I said, ‘I can do better than that.’ So I did, it’s as simple as that,” she said.
Her men’s wear offering will be small — an unlined made-to-measure shirt jacket in seersucker with open buttonholes and a 100 percent cotton burlap jacket lined in charmeuse. The burlap jacket will retail for $1,895 and the seersucker for $895.
“In September, I may do a full men’s collection,” she said. “The women’s polyester/burlap shirts are selling like crazy and I should really do shirts for men too.”
Among the first to receive a new Jackie Rogers men’s piece was her old friend Nicholson, for whom she made a safari-style two-pocket shirt in the burlap fabric.
And if she’s not busy enough, on Friday she will unveil an exhibition of “famous and infamous friends” in a new space,”The Gallery Next to Jackie Rogers,” in Palm Beach. She’ll exhibit photos of everyone from Laurence Olivier, Nicholson and Beatty to Jackie Kennedy, Chanel and Lee Radziwill. There will also be a fashion show of her new women’s collection. The event will be a benefit for the animals at A Second Chance Puppies & Kittens Rescue.