Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Bit of History - In a memory of Luba Elianoff

When I was screening press for the latest fashion news my eye caught an article about a Filipino fashion designer Oliver Tolentino . What caught my attention? it was a 'piƱa fabric'! I knew I had herd about it many many years ago... Yep, definitely, I met Luba Elianoff in 1993 in New York , at that time she worked on her book (I guess it was never published). She asked me for help to sort out her collection of the linens and embroidered clothes. She had many fine embroidered blouses in her collection made of this wonderful fabric. This fabric was used to make a traditional man's formal wear which I'd seen later on a special event in the Philippine Consulate General in New York where I accompanied Luba to the exhibition of the Philippians Artists. On the picture Luba Ellianoff shakes hands with the Philippians official and I'm on a background. What I've learnd from this article that Pina Cloth is no longer the sole wear of the Filipino elite.

Elianoff, Luba – (1902 – 1998)
Latvian-American linen designer
Born Luba Levitt in Riga, she was the daughter of a businessman. She studied drama in Moscow under Stanislavsky and was married to a lawyer, Martin Elianoff. Assisted by a friend to immigrate to the Philippines, Madame Elianoff established and successfully ran a fashionable clothes boutique in Manila. She established herself as a designer of some talent when she incorporated the indigenous pineapple fibre known as pina, into her embroidery designs. Her work was even recognized by the Philippine Government who awarded her a series of medals. Due to WW II she immigrated to the USA with her daughter. Luba then seperated from her husband who died four decades later (1982).
Elianoff worked in Manhattan fashion shops before establishing her own business in luxury linens, which she purchased wholesale and then re-embroidered before selling them on. They proved immensely popular and were extremely elegant and expensive, so that she became popularly known as ‘Queen of the Linens.’ She eventually controlled over twenty stores and contracted most of the manufacturing to factories in Switzerland. Elianoff was recognized world-wide as one of the finest designers of decorative linens. Luba Elianoff died in Manhattan (Nov 17, 1998) aged ninety-six.

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