Monday, September 5, 2016

Judy's Shops: L.A. Fashion Innovator Marcia Israel-Curley, a Book Review



Judy's was an innovative fashion shop for juniors that opened in Los Angeles in 1948. The brain child of Marcia Israel-Curley, the first tiny shop (12' x 7') would grow to become a national influencer in the fashion trade. I found a wealth of information on this retailer and her shops in the autobiography by her, "Defying the Odds".

Israel-Curley essentially invented a new way of selecting and selling fashion. She created a whole world of exciting new styles aimed at a younger customer. She let them feel like they had walked into a world all their own: the first true junior boutique. There she presented styles found nowhere else.

Over time, that one tiny shop grew into a chain of the hottest fashion stores nationally known. Each new mall built in southern California had to have a Judy's to bring in the public. With weekly new fashions, trend setting displays and attentive staff, Israel-Curley would pilot a massive business for several decades.

Marcia began her fashion career while in high school, and seems to be a child prodigy in the business. She went with her instincts and considerable intelligence to make business choices and innovations that were at the forefront of retail. She paved the way for future fashion ventures such as the Gap, Express and later the many other chain stores that catered to younger junior fashion tastes.

When looking for vintage, know that a "Judy's" label marks that garment as one that was sold to an upscale customer who sought out fashion trends before they happened. She loved the full shopping experience of Judy's and saved her babysitting money to spend on dramatic and eye-catching fashions that set her apart from her peers (who were shopping at Lerner's and other less fashion savvy shops).

If you want to read the whole story about this amazing business woman, look for a copy of "Defying the Odds" by Marcia Israel-Curry. It is a good read with a fast moving story. In addition, it helps to tell the big picture on how retail transitioned from the small shops of the early 1950's to the chain store giants in the malls of the 1970's. It was the beginning of modern retail as we know it today.

BOOK: Defying the Odds
AUTHOR: Marcia Israel-Curley
DATE: 2002

1979: Press Release: Buying Trip in China

1989: Press Release: Judy's chain sells

2004, OBIT: Marcia Israel-Curly, 83, Judy's Boutique Owner
and
2004:Judy's Boutique Owner Passes On

5 comments:

Lynn said...

I remember Judy's! I was one of the teens who saved up money and bought clothes there. My elegant aunt, with an eye for fashion, bought clothes there also and never looked like she was trying to be young. Thanks for the tip on the memoir--I'm going to track that down!

Jen O said...

Thank you for sharing your Judy's moments. I think that many women 'of a certain age' still recall this wonderful fashion store.

Richard Degrandcourt said...

BARBARA DULIEN BECAME VICE PRESIDENT OF JUDYS. BARBARA TRAVELLED WITH MARCIA, AND WAS MARRIED TO A STEEL KING, THAT SCRAPPED THE LUSITANIA AND OTHER GREAT PROJECTS. HER DESIGNS FOR PANTS WERE AMAZING, SHE WENT ON TO WIN THE COTY AWARD, AND MARRIED PRODUCER RICHARD DEGRANDCOURT. BARBARA SAID, A BIG NIGHT AT MARCIAS WAS WHEN SHE WOULD SEND LARRY OUT FOR ALL 31 FLAVORS OF ICE CREAM FOR THE FAMILY, THEN A PARTY WITH JODY JACOBS, MURIEL SLATKIN, HENRY BERGER, MICHELINE LERNER AND BEN SILBERSTEIN.

Richard Degrandcourt said...

BARBARA DULIEN BECAME VICE PRESIDENT OF JUDYS. BARBARA TRAVELLED WITH MARCIA, AND WAS MARRIED TO A STEEL KING, THAT SCRAPPED THE LUSITANIA AND OTHER GREAT PROJECTS. HER DESIGNS FOR PANTS WERE AMAZING, SHE WENT ON TO WIN THE COTY AWARD, AND MARRIED PRODUCER RICHARD DEGRANDCOURT. BARBARA SAID, A BIG NIGHT AT MARCIAS WAS WHEN SHE WOULD SEND LARRY OUT FOR ALL 31 FLAVORS OF ICE CREAM FOR THE FAMILY, THEN A PARTY WITH JODY JACOBS, MURIEL SLATKIN, HENRY BERGER, MICHELINE LERNER AND BEN SILBERSTEIN.

Richard Degrandcourt said...

BARBARA DULIEN BECAME VICE PRESIDENT OF JUDYS. BARBARA TRAVELLED WITH MARCIA, AND WAS MARRIED TO A STEEL KING, THAT SCRAPPED THE LUSITANIA AND OTHER GREAT PROJECTS. HER DESIGNS FOR PANTS WERE AMAZING, SHE WENT ON TO WIN THE COTY AWARD, AND MARRIED PRODUCER RICHARD DEGRANDCOURT. BARBARA SAID, A BIG NIGHT AT MARCIAS WAS WHEN SHE WOULD SEND LARRY OUT FOR ALL 31 FLAVORS OF ICE CREAM FOR THE FAMILY, THEN A PARTY WITH JODY JACOBS, MURIEL SLATKIN, HENRY BERGER, MICHELINE LERNER AND BEN SILBERSTEIN.

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