Earlier this month some 400 distinguished representatives of the fashion industry, including retailers, manufacturers and designers (I could almost call them fashion's 400) gathered at a dinner to honor the winners of this year's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Design Awards.
Established in 1956, the awards have become an annual and highly coveted recognition of certain women's sportswear designers whose creations have most notably expressed the sporting look—not only in the comfort which sport itself invites but in the beauty which it inspires.
One evidence of how the sporting look has come to be a leading and inseparable element in the design of almost all apparel is the honor roll of previous award winners, whose accomplishments are far from being confined to active sportswear. In 1956 the winners were the late Claire McCardell and Rudi Gernreich; in 1957 Sydney Wragge and Bill Atkinson; and in 1958 Bonnie Cashin, Rose Marie Reid and Jeanne Campbell.
The 1959 awards (SI, April 20) add to the honor roll the names of Archibald and Melville Davidow, who have "continuously contributed to the American Sporting Look over the past 10 years"; and John Weitz, "who, during the past year, has made the most significant contribution to sportswear."
At the dinner one more award (like the others, part of a musical review written for the occasion) went to Ginger Rogers, who won it simply on general principles. For Miss Rogers, always looks like the sporting look when the sporting look looks its best. And not just by chance: she is a sports enthusiast whose tennis talents once took her into the nationals at Forest Hills.
The trophy now joins a good many others in her Beverly Hills home "Ah!" said the star of Kitty Foyle as she accepted it, "at last my Oscar will have something to drink out of."