Lulu's Vintage

L is for Leser


  Tina Leser was born Christina Wetherill Shillard-Smith on December 12, 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    As a child Tina traveled with her family around the world to faraway places such as Asia and Africa.
    She studied art, design, painting and sculpture at university in Philadelphia and Paris.
    In 1931 she married Curtin Leser from whom she took the name under which she designed.
    They divorced in 1936 and Tina eventually remarried James Howley in 1948.
    Tina opened her first store in Hawaii in 1935 where she sold well made clothing that utilized local Hawaiian and imported Filipino fabrics.
    In 1941 she moved to New York and opened her own company.
    It wasn't until 1943 when she joined the Edwin H. Foreman sportswear firm that she started to make a mark in the fashion world.
    Leser was known for her playsuits and resortwear.
    Her clothing was influenced by many different locales around the world such as China, Guatemala, Hawaii, India, Japan, Mexico and Thailand.
    In 1953 Tina left the Foreman sportswear firm and started her own company again.
    She designed swimwear for Gabor Swimsuits for awhile.
    Tina closed her business in 1964 but, opened it again in 1966.
    Tina permanently closed her business in 1982.
    Tina Leser passed away in 1986.

Red and white gingham beach cover-up from the late 1940's
This beach cover-up is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection

1950's swimsuit with crisscross floral fabric detailed chest and white pleated skirt.
Measurements are 30" Chest, 26" Waist and 35" Hips
You can "Buy It Now" for $225- over at The Cats Pajamas Vintage on eBay.

Unique 1940's sari style dress done in plaid fabric.
This dress has an attached shawl that is designed to drape over the shoulder.
Vintage Size 10
For purchase information please refer to

This post was originally published on April 13, 2007.