Living icon Audrey Smaltz ain't new to it she's true to it. Beginning her career in fashion in the mid '50s after working as a sales girl for Bloomingdale's and Lane Bryant, Smaltz started modeling before becoming a fashion commentator, buyer, journalist and creator of the fashion show management company the Ground Crew.
Smaltz joined Ebony Fashion Fair in 1970, the prestigious traveling fashion show produced by Ebony co-founder Eunice Johnson, as a commentator and fashion editor for the show and the magazine, going beyond talking about the clothes and including the stuff her readers wanted to know like dishing on what the inside of a Dior boutique looked like in Paris and how the clothes were displayed.
In 1977 Smaltz started her backstage fashion management group- "Ground Crew" borrowing the name from a comment MLK made about jumbo jets taking off and everything that was needed in order to get the machine going- "...you need a ground crew."
Audrey flipped it and applied it to running the backstage of New York Fashion Week fashion shows with her team not only helping models get dressed and undressed in record time but also providing services such as people to keep track of "missing" clothes and accessories, transporting and sewing buttons and hems on the clothes and even a "sleeper" who spent the night with expensive clothes and accessories to ensure no problems on the runway.
Homegirl had designers covered, and she was fly as hell - appearing on the Town& Country Best Dressed List THREE times! No easy feat for any woman, let alone a Black woman in a magazine where your waist needs to be as tiny as your pockets are long...
Smaltz has written for many magazines as fashion editor (Vogue and Ebony to name a few) worked with designers such as Donna Karan, Vera Wang and Armani, and has collaborated with companies like Saks, Macy's and J.Crew. Never one to sit tight, at 81 years old, she is still active with the Ground Crew and is a renowned auction host. She is also the wife of former Olympian and professional basketball player Gail Marquis, whom she started dating in her late 60's and married in 2011.
I look up to Audrey because she is self made and fearless, creating a trailblazing fashion career and decorating her life as she sees fit. That is how legends are made!
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