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Timeline of Innovation

Geoffrey Beene: A Life in Fashion

"The unimaginable always becomes the unforgettable." - Geoffrey Beene

One of America's true design pioneers, Geoffrey Beene challenged the American fashion establishment by creating haute couture for women and classic, superbly tailored styles for men that married comfort and luxury.

Winner of eight Coty Awards, three CFDA Awards, an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design, Mr. Beene has also been designated an "American Original" by the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Today Geoffrey Beene, LLC is a fashion empire comprised of men's ready-to-wear, men's and women's accessories and fragrance. Journey through the 40-year exploration of designer Geoffrey Beene's life in fashion - visionary, witty, irreverent, iconic and timeless.

"My career has nothing to do with money. It has to do with self-expression." - Geoffrey Beene

1963 - Opens Geoffrey Beene, Inc. on Seventh Avenue.

1964 - Wins the first of 8 Coty Awards.

1965 - Wins the Neiman Marcus Award.

1966 - Brings grey flannel and wool jersey fabrics to ballroom gowns. Shows dresses printed in a houndstooth plaid inset with undulating bands of lace, a fresh approach that invigorated the use of lace.

1967 - Designs famed Sequined Football Evening Gown.

1968 - Designs his "Mafia" Collection, pin-striped suits which he dubs "Alice Capone" as a joke.

1969 - Introduces his first Menswear Collection.

"There are no rules to the designs: there are standards, and my standard is taste." - Geoffrey Beene

1971 - Introduces his Beene Bag Collection, a less expensive, sportier line; a big success.

1975 - Launches Grey Flannel Men's Fragrance.

Wins the Marshall Field Distinction of Design Award.

1976 - First American Designer to show his collections in Milan, Italy. Follows up with Rome, Paris, Brussels and Vienna.

Wins sixth Coty American Fashion Critics Award for giving impetus to American Fashion abroad. Presents the Geoffrey Beene Collection at the American Embassies in Rome and Paris.

"Plastic is perfect in its own way, so is a diamond. Why shouldn't the two go together?" - Geoffrey Beene

1986/1987 - Wins CFDA Designer Of The Year Award.

1987 - Launches Men's Fragrance: Bowling Green.

1988 - Celebrates 25 years in business with acclaimed fashion show: "25 years Of Discovery" to benefit HIV-AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Museum Retrospective at Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio and The International Academy of Design, New York.

In the same year, he shows his first collection in Munich, Germany and receives the Designers of America Special Award for Fashion as Art.

1989 - Opens retail shop on 5th Avenue in New York.

"Very immodestly I say that I did awaken Europe to the idea that Americans could design more than blue jeans." - Geoffrey Beene

1992 - Receives honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Honored as a Master of American Design with a Retrospective Exhibition and book, "Unbound," celebrating his 30-year career at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

1995 - The Lieutenant Governor proclaims April 27 "Geoffrey Beene Day" in the state of Louisiana (his birthplace).

1996 - Honored as featured designer at the Gala premier of "Elegance After Dark: Evening Wear in Louisiana 1886-1996" at the Louisiana State Museum.

Receives The Chicago Historical Society's Award for Design Excellence.

"I hate clothes that look saleable. I love when they look desirable." - Geoffrey Beene

2000 - Geoffrey Beene is inducted into the Fashion Center Walk of Fame and is honored with a plaque reading, "A Designer's Designer, Geoffrey Beene is one of the most artistic and individual of fashion's creators...".

2002 - Geoffrey Beene is received by First Lady Laura Bush, who awards him with the National Design Award from The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

2003 - Awarded the first National Arts Club Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

2004 - Geoffrey Beene dies on September 28, 2004.

2005 - "Beene By Beene," written by Marylou Luther, Laura Jacobs, Pamela A. Parmal, and James Wolcott — is published by Vendome Press.

2008 - "Geoffrey Beene: An American Fashion Rebel" is written by Kim Hastreiter and published by Assouline.