The New School Archives Digital Collections

Parsons School of Design oral history program ➔ Audio interview with Helen O'Hagan


Related people/organizations

Helen O'Hagan (depicts)
Beth Dincuff Charleston (depicts)


March 8 2011



MLA Citation:

Audio interview with Helen O'Hagan. March 8 2011. Parsons School of Design oral history program. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 19 Aug 2019


Helen O’Hagan, former vice president of public relations and special events at Saks Fifth Avenue, discusses her experiences working at the department store with Beth Dincuff Charleston, professor at Parsons The New School for Design. The interview begins with an in-depth discussion about her personal background, including her training in theater, and how she eventually moved from South Carolina and became an employee of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. O’Hagan and Dincuff Charleston look through multiple binders filled with publicity photographs depicting ensembles by “Sophie of Saks” produced by O’Hagan and her predecessor, Countess Grace de Mun. While looking through these photographs, O’Hagan recounts stories about producing the photo shoots, including details about the garments shown and the models they employed. In addition to providing an intimate look at the history of Saks Fifth Avenue in the mid-twentieth century, including day-to-day life in the fashion offices, O’Hagan talks about her relationships with Saks’ Salon Moderne designer Sophie Gimbel (1898-1981) and her husband, Adam Gimbel (1893-1969), who was the president of the department store until 1969. The interview was recorded at Parsons The New School for Design at 2 West 13th Street in New York.