She christened her collection Cardinali, and Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman couldn't get enough of her mix of '60s career girl by day, pussycat sophisticate by night. Nor could devotees such as Nancy Reagan, Betsy Bloomingdale, Dyan Cannon and Marlo Thomas, whose "That Girl" character was defined by her Cardinali wardrobe. After a nine-year run, Lewis shuttered the brand.
These days, her influence is everywhere. Marc Jacobs' recent runway show in New York was steeped in the look of that legendary TV sitcom. So too is the red carpet, where original or inspired versions of Cardinali's flowing, feminine gowns can be seen — remember the Marchesa gown Jennifer Lopez wore to the Oscars last month?
Women might dominate L.A.'s latest wave of standout designers, but it wasn't always that way. Guys like Galanos and Gernreich ruled the boys' club back then — save for a spirited entrepreneur named Marilyn Lewis.