fashion design

Julie Hatfield, Fashion Editor, The Boston Herald American

"...Perhaps the combination of her training at Bard College, in upstate New York, and later courses at the Parsons School of Design in New York City…
helped her ability to shape such banalities as jeans with the sculptor's attention to a minimal curve…and the designer's eye for cut …"

'Lifestyle' by Marian Christy
The Boston Globe

"Boston designer Susan Playfair
of Mount Vernon Street has completed her first ready-to-wear collection of summer fashions made from hand-blocked cottons.

The fabrics are signed by the French artist Jean Yves Froment."

Monday, June 2, 1975
Designed for Action



Women's Resortwear Designer

No longer the owner of The Sunspot, but still the owner of some uniquely beautiful lengths of fabric, I decided to use my design training to put together a line of resortwear under my own label.

Evelyn Farnum, the dearest of friends and an accomplished saleswoman, handled the marketing. And what a job she did! We received orders from 25 specialty stores throughout the country including Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel in New York, and Le Biarritz, Charles Sumner, and the Ritz Hotel's Tat Saunders in Boston.

It was a grand run for several years of runway shows, benefit fashion shows, and frantic deadlines to design, fill, and ship orders. By 1981, with the exception of the New York stores, most of our customer stores had either declared bankruptcy or gone out of business, and my designs began to trickle into Filene's Basement, for sale at discounted prices.

For someone who had been told at 23 by the dean at Parsons that she was "too old to be a designer," I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to design several successful seasons of resortwear and to occasionally see my designs worn by women who knew me only through my label.

A penchant for color.

"Whether it's because she grew up in Duxbury and likes strong contrasts in her life is not certain, but Playfair's penchant for color is as far away from New England as you can get: saffron yellows, burnt oranges, deep fuchsias. And in her prints, she leans toward the tropics even more: profusions of hibiscus, giant Calla lilies and eucalyptus leave grow all over her French cottons and voilles." *

"Talk about checkered careers!"

"How about someone who's a sculpture major in college, who then goes to New York to get her stock broker's license, and finally returns to Boston and successfully designs and markets women's clothes." *

* Julie Hatfield, Fashion Editor for the Boston Herald American
Friday, January 27, 1978
Sculptor takes stock, turns to fashion design