by Nathalie Azoulai
The Hollywood legend says that in 1962, Irene Lentz jumps from room #1129 at The Knickerbocker Hotel supposedly out of a non declarable pain since Gary Cooper died in 1961. Doris Day, her friend and confident, couldn’t tell about the reciprocity of such a love but wiser Hollywoodian witnesses would correct the story alluding to an unconfessed homosexuality. “Her details were exquisite, and she’s as brilliant as Chanel or Schiaparelli. She’s totally up there with the Parisians and Italians but really has been forgotten, » says an expert. Beyond Hollywood where she took over Adrian at the MGM head of design costume in 1943 , she became the first American designer with her own named department store salon, Irene, and achieved national label recognition in contracts with more than 50 exclusive department stores, where her designs challenged the giants of French couture.