Creativity can sometimes be one person’s “eye” and when they cease to create, the business they create ceases as well. In the case of the first two American women’s magazines, this seems to be true.
Louis A. Godey founded “Godey’s Lady’s Book” in 1830, which he published for over 48 years with the help of editor Sarah Josepha Hale; right before both Godey and Hale died, Godey sold the publication to John Hill Seyes Haulenbeek. When Haulenbeek died, the magazine ceased publishing because the style of the magazine could not continue without these creators. Some creative entities are only successful because of the creators vision. In the case of this publication I believe that when the last own died his vision for the magazine died with him.
“Peterson’s Magazine,” founded in 1842, had a similar demise when original founders Charles Jacobs Peterson and George Rex Graham died. Frank Munsey, who bought the publication, combined it with “Argosy Magazine.” Eventually, this magazine also ceased production when Munsey died.
It is interesting that some brands are able to stay true to the founding creators decades after their death. The brand of Alexander McQueen comes to mind, and I ponder the idea of how the current creative team is able to continue creating a line so true to McQueen’s vision without him. This brand continues to amaze and push the envelope years after McQueen took his own life. Another example is the brand of Christian Dior, which has continued on for decades and stands the test of time without the original creator.
Chanel is another brand that lives on despite the passing of Coco Chanel in 1971. The Chanel brand is the only original designer brand to still command the fashion industry today.
As a creative person, I have to say that one of the hardest things to accomplish is to build a solid team of business and creative types that truly understand your brand. With designers or artists that are fortunate enough to build this solid team, their legacy can live on well past their passing.
Whether it is old age, or accidental and tragic deaths, the fashion industry will always move forward while paying homage to the decades of styles and designers of years gone by.