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Martin Greenfield: The Presidential Tailor

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

martin greenfield

MARTIN GREENFIELD
"AMERICA'S GREATEST LIVING TAILOR"

Every American president has surrounded himself with political advisors. But one man has been lucky – and talented – enough to serve as fashion advisor to no less than four presidents. That man is Martin Greenfield. Who would have imagined that the teen who survived Auschwitz would eventually become a renowned tailor – not only to presidents but a host of entertainers, sports celebrities and other public figures?

Ironically, it was at Auschwitz where young Martin, born Maximillian Grunfeld, learned to sew. He and his parents, sisters, tiny brother and grandparents were taken from their Czechoslovakia home and shipped to the Nazi concentration camp when he was 15. Martin was put to work in the laundry room, where he repaired garments. At one point, he retrieved an SS shirt from the trash, re-stitched it and proceeded to wear it in secret under his camp uniform.

He says the ability to re-create and wear the shirt – a garment no other prisoner owned – gave him a special power. “Clothes don’t just make the man,” he says, “they can save the man; they did for me.”

martin greenfield

GREENFIELD WITH BILL CLINTON DURING A FITTING IN CLINTON'S WHITE HOUSE BEDROOM. GREENFIELD'S FIRST IMPRESSION OF CLINTON'S CLOSET, "THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST PATHETIC PRESIDENTIAL WARDROBES IN AMERICAN HISTORY."

Martin was the only member of his family who left Auschwitz. Late in World War II, he was transferred to Buchenwald, via a brutal 50-march through the snow. The camp was liberated by American soldiers in April 1945. With no idea all his immediate family were dead, Martin searched for them for two years.

He immigrated to New York, where another Czech refugee helped him get a job sweeping the floor at GGG Clothing. Under the tutelage of owner William Goldman, Martin honed his sewing skills, learning every detail of custom clothing craftsmanship. His reputation as a very fine tailor continued to grow, and General Dwight Eisenhower became his first big-name client, at the time he was running for president. That was a poignant success for Greenfield, who recalls shaking Eisenhower’s hand during the liberation of Buchenwald.

martin greenfield

MARTIN GREENFIELD CLOTHIERS - BROOKLYN, NYC

He purchased GGG Clothing in 1977, giving the firm his own name. At the time, the company had six employees; today it has more than a hundred. Besides Eisenhower, Greenfield has crafted beautiful hand-crafted suits for Presidents Ford, Clinton and Obama. Other clients have run the gamut from Paul Newman and Shaquille O’Neal to Michael Jackson, Al Pacino, Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Depp, Cardinal Edward Egan and General Colin Powell.

Another loyal client is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Frankly, I’m in awe of him,” Bloomberg admits. “We’re talking about a man who fought to survive some of the worst mankind has ever shown, came to New York with nothing, worked hard, thrived, and took care of his family. Martin is some of the best we can offer. And I don’t buy my suits anywhere else.”

martin greenfield

GREENFIELD'S BOOK IS THE STORY OF A MAN WHO SUFFERED UNIMAGINABLE HORROR AND EMERGED WITH A DREAM OF SUCCESS

Through the years, Greenfield and his employees have produced suits for Hollywood film and television characters as well as “real” customers. His company also contracts with high-end retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and DKNY to make suits for their clientele.

Now well into his 80s, Martin Greenfield has published a memoir entitled “Measure of a Man,” in which he tells his horrifying and compelling life story.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: Michael Jackson, Dwight Eisenhower, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

What Will Collectors Think of the Barack Obama Official White House China?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 08:45 AM

After approximately two plus years of planning and production, the newest collection of White House china was unveiled in April at a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Renowned White House China collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says it’s not unusual for presidents to wait until their second term to choose their official china.

Obama-White-House-China-Collection

A SAMPLING OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA

President Obama and the First Lady want to be represented in the White House China collection because, in part, it is historically important. However, ordering entirely new china is expensive – the 320 11-piece settings of Obama china reportedly cost more than $360,000 – so the cost is borne via private donations to the White House Historical Association’s White House Endowment Fund.

The china design was chosen in part for practicality – to blend harmoniously with existing patterns – but with a very personal twist. Michelle Obama told a reporter for Architectural Digest her goal was “to create a new modern, different, edgy kind of look.” White House curator William Allman, who worked with the First Lady on this project, said the design has a distinctly modern look “while continuing to draw on historic and traditional elements.”

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MICHELLE OBAMA ADMIRES THE DETAIL IN THEIR OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA SELECTION

Some of the pieces feature a color that represents Hawaii’s bluish-green waters, in honor of President Obama’s birthplace. The Obamas named it “Kailua Blue.” The color isn’t traditional, Mr. Amyx notes, but it is beautiful. Dinner plates feature a bas-relief design that mimics the pattern on James and Dolley Madison’s 1806 French china service.

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THE KAILUA BLUE IN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WHITE HOUSE CHINA REPRESENTS HIS HAWAIIAN HERITAGE

The Obama china was made by Pickard China of Antioch, Illinois, the first time this firm has ever been selected to make Official White House China. While the collection is certainly historic, renowned White House China collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx says this china may not be so interesting to future collectors. The raised design on the dinner plates is unique, he says, yet the white-on-white presentation is lost, especially on a white tablecloth. Mr. Amyx believes that from a beauty point of view, the china could have been improved by using the Kailua Blue color for the raised border to provide contrast.

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PRESIDENT OBAMA ADMIRES HIS OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA CUP AS HE HOLDS HIS STANDARD MORNING PAPER COFFEE CUP IN HIS OTHER HAND

In addition, only a minority of pieces carry the presidential emblem – an eagle motif that a majority of past presidents have always used as the main visual element on the face of each plate, in the center or on the side. So there is nothing that says “presidential” about this china unless one looks at the verso.

If the china is less interesting to collectors, it will be less valuable to collectors.  Raleigh explains. The exception may very well be the minority of pieces that do carry the presidential emblem on the front. Typically, collectors want to acquire a service plate and the next size down. But in the case of the Obama china, the desirable emblem appears not on the very large all, white on white, dinner plate but on the second-largest plate, with the exception of the service plate (see below).

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THE LUXURIOUS SERVICE PLATE IN THE BARACK OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION

The Obama service plate is a bright matte-finish gold and does feature a Presidential Coat of Arms on the front. Mr. Amyx says he would have added a circle of stars surrounding the emblem to make it “pop” more attractively, somewhat like the Harry S. Truman china. And he suggests the blue border could have been a bit wider. After all, he says, presidential china should be “elegant to all those who view it.” It should "really pop" and say “Hello, see me? I was selected by the President of the United States!”

raleigh-degeer-amyx-in-library

HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR - RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than three decades. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

Tags: Barack Obama

Contact Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Online

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