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Albert Nipon

The Classic American Style of Albert Nipon

Albert Nipon, and his wife Pearl, have made a name in the world of fashion, making suits that have caught the attention of many, including some very famous people. Though his entry into the fashion world was decades ago, there are still many who have pride in buying Albert Nipon suits. A prison sentence during the 1980s at the height of Albert Nipon’s career only slowed him down. By the 90s, he was again making suits and outfits that became instant classics.

An American Success Story

At first glance, there is nothing especially interesting about the early life of Albert Nipon. He was born in 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was raised, graduating from high school there. He went on to attend Temple University, and from there began a career, not as a fashion designer, but at DuPont working in accounts.

According to his story, when he first met his wife, Pearl, he threw her into a swimming pool – while she still had her clothes on. It must have been an effective tactic for them, because they are still married decades later. Together they had four children, three sons named Leon, Laurence and Andrew, as well as a girl, who they named Barbara Joy (called BJ for short). They started to raise their family there in Philadelphia, just as Albert himself was raised there.

They didn’t attempt to do any fashion designing until 1954, when the couple began to design maternity clothes. Albert, with his skill in accounting, was the one who ran the business, while Pearl was the one who did the work of designing. Their little dress shop soon grew into a series of stores, which they dubbed Ma Mere.

Over time, the Baby Boom that fueled the rise of Ma Mere began to fade and the Nipons turned their attention to a new set of clientele, modern women who wanted to follow the popular chic of the early 70s. They sold La Mere and began to design feminine wear for all women, not just those in maternity. These were an even bigger success than their earlier line of maternity wear.

Though his name was often on the labels, Albert Nipon gave his wife all the credit for their designs. It was Pearl Nipon who understood what women wanted, especially the young women just starting their careers – something that looked smart, but was still comfortable, something that looked as were tailor-made by a European designer, but remained affordable.

The Albert Nipon name became extremely famous through that decade and into the next, making the Nipons millionaires in the by the mid-80s. Celebrities like Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters were known to wear the label – and even First Ladies Rosalynn Carter and Nancy Reagan.

It was at this time that Albert Nipon introduced a perfume to go with his fashions, named after the label. It made its debut in 1983, and was a classic sort of fragrance, just like his clothing designs, both woody and spicy. It opens with a touch of citrus into a floral heart with rose, carnation, and jasmine, with musk and moss at its base. Like the clothing made by the label, the scent is smart and strong and down to earth, without sacrificing femininity.

Fall and Rebirth

Just at the height of success, Albert Nipon’s business took a sharp turn downward when he was indicted for tax evasion in 1984. He ended up serving time in a minimum security prison located on an Air Force base in Florida. Many called it simply a country club prison, but like all prisoners, Albert Nipon was set to work menial labor for the 20 months he was there, while his business literally lost millions of dollars.

During his time in incarceration, he studied Judaism and his life took a more spiritual turn. Once he as free, he attempted to turn his business around as well. He began to briskly sell clothing again after his release.

Despite his successful return to fashion, Nipon was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1988 and the company was sold. The buyers, however, were quite happy to let Albert and Pearl Nipon continue the work that makes them happy, designing clothes. Even today, after the problems in the 80s, the brand is still going strong, selling Albert Nipon clothing and fragrances in boutiques and shops worldwide.

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