Albert Nipon

Albert Nipon (born 1927) is an American fashion designer and ladies-clothing manufacturer.

Albert Nipon
Born1927 (age 92–93)
West Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
OccupationFashion designer
Albert Nipon
ChildrenLarry, Andy, Leon, Barbara

Early life and educationEdit

He was born and raised in West Philadelphia, a section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nipon graduated from West Philadelphia High School.[1]

Nipon, a graduate of Temple University, began professional life as an accountant for DuPont.[2][3]

He and his wife, Pearl, reportedly met when he threw her fully clothed into a swimming pool.[4] They have four children—sons Laurence, Leon, and Andrew; and a daughter, Barbara Joy, who is known as "B.J.". They live in a condominium at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City Philadelphia.

The Nipons started their foray into fashion in 1954 as designers of maternity clothes. Albert ran the business, while Pearl designed the clothing. They opened a small dress shop, which grew into a chain of stores called Ma Mere.[2]


The Nipons turned their maternity-clothes company into an internationally known producer of ultra-feminine women's clothing in 1972. The birth rate was declining, and they decided to focus on creating chic dress. They sold Ma Mere to Dekon Corporation.

Albert Nipon gives all the credit for the line that bears his name to Pearl and her design aesthetic. She, however, says she merely edits the lines.

"Pearl is a chic woman," he told The News and Courier in a 1973 interview. "She has a feel for what young career women would like their clothes to be. Smart, fluid, comfortable, in wonderful fit and the nice detailing that looks like the dress was made to order in Europe." [5]

The line's popularity caught the fashion world by surprise and quickly made Nipon's "Albert Nipon" brand of clothing famous. Sales of Albert Nipon dresses reached US$60 million in 1984, and Nipon counted among his celebrity clients Rosalynn Carter, Mary Tyler Moore, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Walters.[6]

His fall was as rapid as his rise; in 1984, he was indicted for tax evasion and bribery in an investigation of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Internal Revenue Service office and served time in a federal penitentiary.[6] He was housed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, a minimum security facility.[2]

"When you are stripped of everything material and physical and emotional, I don't care what the surroundings are, I don't know how anyone can call that a country club," he said in a Philadelphia Inquirer interview. "You have a job to do - I sorted clothes or cut grass - but it's just a job, a menial job. The challenge is to keep yourself busy, and I did that.

"When the only thing you have is your mind, I understand now the tendency to become more spiritual," he said. "I was fortunate enough to be selected for a seminar at a rabbinical college. I learned a lot about Judaism, history and the Bible; I don't think I would have been able to do that otherwise." [2]

During the 20 months he was incarcerated, his company reportedly lost $15 million in revenues.[3]

However, the designer's career did not end with his conviction and incarceration. Sales initially rebounded with Nipon himself stating they could not ship clothing sufficiently fast to fill orders.[2]

The company declared bankruptcy in 1988.[7] It was sold in 1988 to Leslie Fay Co., which allowed the Nipons to continue running the design business.[8] Albert Nipon designs and fragrances continue to be available in dress shops and fashion boutiques around the world.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Philadelphia, three centuries of American art: Bicentennial exhibition, April 11-October 10, 1976. Philadelphia Museum of Art. 1976. p. 643.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jill Gerston (12 May 1987). "Albert Nipon: Back In Business Out Of Prison, He Looks To The Future Of His Fashion Empire". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  3. ^ a b Bonnie Johnson (31 August 1987). "After 20 Months Behind Bars, a Chastened Albert Nipon Is Trying to Sew Up the Dress Market Again". People magazine. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  4. ^ Barbaralee Diamonstein (1985). Fashion: the inside story. Rizzoli.
  5. ^ "Simple Shirtdresses Spell Success". The News and Courier. August 5, 1973. p. 3–E. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b Staff (November 5, 1984). "Albert Nipon: Fashion Fraud, a Dress Designer's Tax Woes". Time. Abstract; (subscription required) for full article. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Albert Nipon In Chapter 11". The New York Times. 5 January 1988. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  8. ^ Betty Goodwin (27 January 1989). "Fashion 89 : Albert Nipon : Pumping New Life Into Classic Image". The Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Staff (November 19, 1991). "Albert Nipon Branches Out – (Albert Nipon Licensing Group Plans Retail Shops". Women's Wear Daily (via HighBeam Research). Abstract; (subscription required) for full article. Retrieved January 15, 2012.