Luncheon Honoring Arthur McGee

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating the legacy of fashion designer Arthur McGee with a luncheon on Monday January 26 from 12Noon-2:30PM with remarks by Cicely Tyson.

Born in 1933 in Detroit Michigan, Arthur McGee began his fashion career at the age of 18 when he entered a scholarship contest sponsored by the Traphegen School of Design in New York, advertised in a local Detroit newspaper. Inspired by his mother who often created her own fashions, Arthur submitted the winning design and set his course for Manhattan.

Mr. McGee went on to study a the Fashion Insititute of Technology (FIT) where he honed his skills for millinery and apparel design. He began working for the American Couturier Charles James while a student at FIT and later produced his own designs while pursuing employment in New York’s apparel industry.

In 1957, Mr. McGee became the first African-American to run the design room of an established Seventh Avenue apparel company, Bobby Brooks. His remarkable talent and the broad appeal of his work transcended racial barriers, selling to such stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, Bonwit Teller, Bergdorf Goodman, and Lord & Taylor. He opened his first store in the early 1960’s on St. Mark’s Place in New York City where his clients included Cybil and Richard Burton and Arthur Mitchell of the Dance Theater of Harlem. He became the designer of choice for many celebrities, including Lena Horne, Cicely Tyson, and Stevie Wonder.

Known as the dean of African-American designers, Mr. McGee mentored many young talents, including Aziza Braithwaite Bey (Elena Braith) and the late Willie Smith, paving the way for designers of colors. For more about the designer visit his website at

For inquiries about the event email Donna Williams:



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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