Fashion

1957 Bernard Altmann Sweater

The company behind this cashmere sweater had an intriguing backstory.

Bernard Altmann Sweater Ad from the April 1957 Edition of Harper’s Bazaar

This striking ad for Bernard Altmann sweaters caught my eye while I was flipping through the April 1957 edition of the fabulous Harper’s Bazaar magazine. I found the concept of a summer cashmere sweater interesting and I thought it might make a good blog post. It wasn’t until I googled Bernarnd Altmann that I realized how very special this ad and the Bernard Altmann brand is.

Bernard Altmann had a thriving textile plant in Austria in the early 20th century before the Nazis took over the plant in 1938. Meanwhile, his brother Fritz Altmann was taken prisoner and Bernard was forced to sign over all of his assets to the Nazis in exchange for his brother’s release. Fritz’ wife, Maria Altmann was the subject of a 2015 Hollywood movie titled the Woman in Gold about her fight to get back art stolen by the Gestapo.

After the war, Bernard Altmann set up shop in North America and produced Cashmere and other wool and fur sweaters in Texas. The brand thrived and one out of every 3 cashmere sweaters sold in the US was from the Texas mill.

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