Monika Tilley, Fashion Designer and Activewear Pioneer, Dies at 86

Monica Tilley, a new designer of sportswear, longwear and racy swimsuits shining from Sports Illustrated magazine covers on models such as Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs, died in Manhattan on December 23. She was 86 years old.

His daughter Mona Tiley announced the death in January. She said that her mother died in a hospital after having multiple strokes.

Ms. Tiley was not a name designer like Bill Blass or Calvin Klein; She was an industry talent known for her work for companies such as Anne Cole, Anne Klein, White Stag and others, designing what would be a typical American style of dressing. While she was a track star in the 1970s, she created a line for Kaitlyn Jenner and collaborated with Ms. Brinkley on a line of swimwear in 1984. For the Winter Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, he designed parade uniforms for American teams. .

With an athletic build – she was an expert skier – and deep, gravelly voice, the Austrian-born Ms. Tiley was a brilliant and beautiful person. “But he was a sparkle; You never knew she was having a little fun, ”said Julie Campbell, Sports Illustrated’s longest-running editor of swimwear issues, who put several of Ms. Tylie’s suits on her cover. “His swimwear designs were provocative for his time.”

With Norma Kamali, who designed Red one piece Remembered by Farah Fawcett, Ms. Tilly was a symbol of the “sexisation of swimwear” in the 1970s, said Eric Wilson, a veteran fashion reporter.

Ms. Tylee and Ms. Kamali in a way combined a sense of athleticism with an open embrace of sex appeal that would affect mainstream swimwear styles, while Rudy Gernrich did a decade ago when he revealed the breast to the fashion world Was monokini, ”Mr. Wilson said. “It was just a speck of instability compared to the influence of Monica’s fishnet swimsuits – little left of fantasy about a woman’s anatomy – to loosen up consumer tastes and for decades school fantasies and dorm-rooms To make posters. “

The Nipple-baring white mesh swimsuit Mr. Wilson noted, worn by Ms. Tiges in the 1978 issue, was perhaps the most famous Image of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Terry MacDonnell, Editor of Sports Illustrated from 2002 to 2012 stated, “Every swimming case drew. Threats of cancellation and methods of objection – first from moralists and then from feminists – and this image was supercharged in that sense, ”Mr. McDonnell said.

It is now In permanent collection Institute of Costume at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ms. Tyley often added saucy touches to her bathing suit, such as lace pieces on another white one-piece suit that Ms. Tyg wore for a Sports Illustrated cover in 1983, mostly seen-through waterfalls behind her. Dipped in

“He was Viennese, after all,” said British designer Patricia Underwood as a friend of Ms. Tilley. “In Austria they are very good at fur coats, Lausanne and lingerie.”

Monica Theresia Notney was born on July 25, 1934 in Vienna. Her father, Franz Novotti, worked in the Department of Agriculture; His mother, Margaret (Kindreder) Novotny, taught English and physical education.

Monica earned a master’s degree from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, an education her father allowed her to pursue only when she could check in with her teachers on a daily basis. (He did not believe that art was a viable career path.)

While she was studying business in Vienna, she and Merton Arthur Tilley married in 1957 in the Hofburg Palais, after which they settled in Forest Hills, Queens.

Ms. Tiley previously worked as an illustrator at Harper’s Bazaar. She was soon hired as a children’s wear designer at Anne Cole. She used to design swimwear, sportswear and lungewear at Anne Klein and other companies.

1964 interview by The New York Times, Ms. Tylie, a 29-year-old skeezy designer for the White Stag at the time, was asked to predict which looks at Innsbruck, Austria, where the Olympic Games were held that year would become the trend. She was dressed in pomomat hats and stretch pants.

In 1976, The Times noted: “Designing sportswear is the life work of Miss Tillie, and she participates in many sports for which she designs clothes. The tennis boom has provoked a lot of crime in the name of fashion, and it aims to return the original elegance to the sport using modern clothing. “

Ms. Tyley was also, as designer Stan Herman said, “loungewear in a force,” a category in the 1970s that works for women who wanted to look sharp at work but feel comfortable upon arriving home. It marked the end of the housewife era, as Mr. Harman, also a force in that genre.

“Liz Claiborne was about to get the new woman to work, and we were going to give her a dress at home,” he said. “Monica did a very sporty kind of lungevivres: lots of pointed collars and housecoats that looked like men’s shirts.”

In the late 1980s, Longevers’ signature line for Ms. Tillay’s Vassagor featured ankle-length sweaters in monochromatic tops and bold stripes worn over leggings that would not be out of place today.

Mr. Herman recalled that Ms. Tyley was once shown in a memorial in a window to Lord & Taylor, with Monica Tyley effigy – her own doppelganger – sketching on a desk and looking very authoritative.

In addition to her daughter, Ms. Tylie is survived by her son, Martin, and her brother, Thomas Nowotney. His marriage to Mr. Tilley ended in divorce.

Ms. Tilley was a longtime board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, in 1962 the business organization was launched to promote American fashion. He founded the CFDA Scholarship Program in 1996 and was closely involved in its development.

The council’s executive vice president, Lisa Smilor, said “she was an unwanted hero in the organization”. “The crowd of students designed for scholarship by the CFDA may not know its name or heritage. Nevertheless, they had a positive impact on futures. “

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