When Sydney C Wragge was born on March 10, 1908, in New York, his father, Bernard, was 37. He lived in Boca Raton, Florida, for more than 26 years from 1958 to 1984. He died in March 1978 in New York, New York, at the age of 70. In Rye his family lived on Lake Road. Sidney served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II.
Sydney C. Wragge
Sydney C. Wragge, a leading womens fashion designer and manufacturer for more than 30 years, died last night in. Boca Raton, Fla. , of cancer of the bone marrow. He was 70 years old.
Mr. Wragge, a robust, athletic man with a forceful, commanding style and the gentle, artistic sensibilities of a fine painter, was a pioneer in the field of sportswear, credited wth introducing the concept of modern separates, He was also an early proponent of the sleeveless, sheath dress, the jumper dress and the summer coat with slit sides.
He was a master with colors and fabrics and produced elegant, understated designs for an exclusive sort of town and country woman who, he once said, aspires to better things . . . leads the good life.
In a field where obsolescence is encouraged, if not planned, he was proud of the lasting quality of his designs and adopted the unheard of practice of including the year of manufacture in the labels of his garments. Some of them are still being . worn today.
Before retiring as president of the B. H. Wragge Cornany in the early 1970s, he had twice won the Coty award the most sought?after prize in the fashion world and had been honored, as well, with the prestigious Neiman Marcus and Sports Illustrated awards.
He was one of the founding members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and served as its first president.
Mr. Wragge was born in Brooklyn on March 10, 1908, the eldest of five sons of Joseph and Anna Goldstein. He studied at New York University then took a job as a stock clerk for a shirt making concern. After a few years he bought B. H. Wragge, a custom shirt house, adopted its name as his own, turned it into manufacturing company and added skirts to his line.
Eventually; the shirts and skirts were sewn together to form the first Wragge dresses.
Mr. Wragge expanded, his line to include coats and suits and developed coordinated wardrobe with many interrelated parts, harmonizing in color and fabric so that a woman could live almost exclusively in Wragge designs.
The colors, Mr. Wragge said, are in families, meaning that if a woman bought a coat, she would also be able to find a separate skirt or dress to go with it.
His staff developed its own color chart and, he said, sometimes we send colors back three or four times, to the fabricmakers, until the tone was exactly what he had prescribed.
In fabrics, he loved tweeds and pure silk linen, but as one fashion analyst noted, he was not adverse to trying the new synthetic materials.
Advertisements for the Wragge line displayed attractive women and children and exuded an air of suburban affluence similar to the designers own life style.
He and his wife, the former Phyllis Morse, and their three daughters Ellen, Carla and Sara lived in a Tudor style home in the town of Rye on the edge of Long Island Sound.
The girls, who always had front row seasts at their fathers openings, went to private schools and in the winter the family went south to a lakeside home in Boca Raton.
Mr. Wrigge, who always seemed to have a tan and liked to dress in navy blazers and gray flannel slacks, sailed his sloop, the Flying Cloud, in the Sound and along the Atlantic Coast, and was an avid golfer.
The disease he suffered from left him deceptively lively and healthy looking until almost the very end. Only two weeks ago, for example, he exuberantly finished 18 holes of golf with an 81, chuckling over taking a few dollars away from the boys, and was delighting dinner guests with his wit
Mr. Wraggle continued to eivide his time between Florida, New York and the Jersey Shore in retirement and in his last years focused his attention on developing an art museum at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
He had given the university several pieces from his extensive collection of contemporary art and had been discussing turning over some of his designs to the theater department for use in its costume program.
Slinging a Leica under one arm, he had also sat in on photography classes at the university, bringing as much to the gathering, it seemed, as he took away. He lent perspective, one professor recalled.
Mr. Wragge is survived by his wife, three daughters and three brothers.