Mildred Custin: Bonwit Teller’s Man of the Year | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-0742
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0750



Mildred Custin served as the President of New York City-based retailer Bonwit Teller from 1965 to 1970. The 1960s was a period of rapid cultural change fuelled by multiple social paradigm shifts related to concepts of gender, race, sexuality and age. Fashion of the era reflected these changing ideals. During this time, Custin introduced European designers such as Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges to the American market. In the Unites States she placed the first major order of up-and-coming designer Calvin Klein. The introduction of menswear under Custin’s leadership to Bonwit’s previously women’s only assortment fuelled the spread of the Peacock Revolution in the United States. As a woman with a gentle voice but clear fashion vision, she embraced styles of the era and successfully led Bonwit Teller through a turbulent period of social history.


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