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Q: My mother-in-law gave my daughter a vintage dress that has a label inside that says “Harvey Berin, designed by Karen Stark.” My mother-in-law was a music instructor at the local high school and put on musicals every year. This dress was donated to her to use in the musicals. When she retired, she gave the dress to my daughter to wear to the prom. Can you tell us anything about the designer and maker of this dress?

A: Harvey Berin started his clothing business in 1921. He is known for his cocktail and evening dresses made from the 1940s until 1970. Berin bought dresses in Paris and had the designs adapted by designer Karen Stark, his sister-in-law. He approved the designs before the dresses were made. First Lady Patricia Nixon wore a gown designed by “Karen Stark for Berin” to the 1969 inaugural balls. The dress is now in the Smithsonian. Berin closed his business 1970.


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