“I’m happy being anonymous.”
Those were the words told to us by a man whose designs have been worn for decades by pop culture’s greats, such as, Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews, Joan Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Joan Collins, Ann Romney… just to name a few.
The late Alfred Fiandaca became a preferred fashion designer to some of the most affluent women in politics and entertainment in the last half century and whose stylings have become as timeless and beloved as the women who wear them. Before he passed on February 9th in his Palm Beach home at age 72, the East Boston native sat down with us to share his thoughts on his lifetime of achievements. Though, don’t expect any basking in the glory of being a favorite of powerful and beautiful women. Fiandaca was in love with the fashion…not fame.
“I’ve only worked maybe 14 days in my life. Because everyday is a joy. I don’t work. I just do what I do and have a good time doing it,” said Fiandaca.
As the son of an Italian tailor and cabaret costume seamstress, a passion for garments was ingrained in his DNA. When he was just boy, he was already sewing fabrics and cutting patterns. Fiandaca studied design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. By 1960, Fiandaca founded his women’s fashion line.
Although his couture houses were in Palm Beach and New York at the time of his death, Fiandaca always maintained a Boston connection. For over 40 years, he kept a studio on Newbury Street. In 2009, it moved to Albany Street but at least one politician’s wife managed to always find it.
As a Massachusetts’ governor’s wife, Ann Romney discovered Fiandaca during her time in the state capital and quickly joined the likes of other political spouses, such as, Lady Bird Johnson and Nancy Reagan who fell in love with the designer’s classic aesthetic that transcended current fads. She frequently shopped the racks of his boutique but Fiandaca insisted on allowing his staff to custom tailor her outfits as her husband’s political campaign continued to grow.
For decades, he lived and worked under the radar from mainstream attention—something he enjoyed. However, during the 2012 presidential election, Ann Romney’s frequent public appearances put her fashion choices under the national fashion microscope. As the press pushed for the source of the garments, Fiandaca’s name finally hit the household media nearly overnight.
After hearing news of his passing last month, Ann took to Twitter to publically honor him, “Heartbroken over the loss of my dear friend Alfred Fiandaca. My thoughts and prayers go out to his loving family and dedicated staff.”
Check out our interview with Alfred Fiandaca as he discusses his inspiration, childhood, and relationship with Ann Romney.