Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman ~ by Art Ortenberg

LizRed cover

Beautifully written by her husband Art Ortenberg, Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman is the story of Liz Claiborne–the building of her iconic company, her vast talents in clothing the emerging market of women entering the work force, her years of adventure after leaving the company, the conservation work she did for decades, and the nobility and dignity of her battle with cancer.  It is also a powerful and poignant love story.

In 1976 Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg created Liz Claiborne, Inc., one of the most well-known fashion companies in the world and the first Fortune 500 Company headed by a woman.  Liz had anticipated and responded to a lasting economic and cultural change… in the America of the 1980s, when significant numbers of women entered the workplace and reached professional heights previously denied to them. Her clothes were professional looking and comfortable without dressing a woman up in a man’s clothing. As her business partner and soul-mate, Art Ortenberg was dedicated to doing whatever he could to assure that her vision was realized.

It was the enormous success of the company they built together that enabled Liz and Art when they departed Liz Claiborne, Inc. in 1989 to afford the next decade of adventuresome, cancer-free years. Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman tells of their many travels around the world together and their dedication to the conservation of nature through The Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation.  The story is also a painstakingly detailed account of Liz’s diagnosis of peritoneal carcinoma in 1998 and her nine-year battle against an extremely rare disease that attacked the lining of her stomach.  Art courageously tells the story of how Liz came to terms with her disease, a disease she was determined to outlive, and how it inspired her and those who knew her well to live fuller, more productive lives.

LIZ Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman does not so much celebrate Liz Claiborne the designer and entrepreneur, but rather Liz the woman. “Liz left us more than her work,” Art concludes, “perhaps more than the consequences of her work; she left us herself. The making of that self, and the good she did for others, is the story I tell.”

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  1. This sounds fascinating! She certainly did a lot for women in the clothing industry.

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