Fashion mogul Edith Flagg passed away last week in Los Angeles at the astounding age of 94. Who is Edith Flagg you may ask? Well, she’s the woman who brought polyester to the United States. I must admit, I didn’t know of Mrs. Flagg until she graced my television as Grandma Edith on her grandson Josh Flagg’s Bravo TV show Million Dollar Listing (2006-present). But to watch her was to love her.
Flagg was a Romanian Born fashion designer. She was raised wealthily, but when Hitler came into power her family lost everything. Edith was a Holocaust survivor and lost her husband to Auschwitz. She fled to safety as a young mother and ended up in America with $5 on her pocket.
She worked for a while as a seamstress, but in the 1960’s on a trip to England, she discovered a fabric that would change the very face of fashion. She found polyester. After purchasing as much of the fabric as she could get her hands on, she created a garments that were washable and perfect for every woman. Within a year, polyester was all over the country.
Her grandson Josh Flagg who not only spoke of his grandmother as his best friend also gave us insight into not only her brash sense of humor and her worldly business advice. Grandma Edith had a take no prisoners attitude and clearly taught her grandson those same important traits. Edith was once famously known for purchasing a $100,000 Rolls-Royce cash after the salesman doubted her ability to do so.
“My grandmother was a legend, not only in my eyes, but in the eyes of the countless people she helped and touched.”
With all of Grandma Edith’s opulence though, there laid a humble woman.
“She had the most fabulous clothes in her closet, but was always happiest walking down the street in Beverly Hills in a pair of sneakers, a polo and a baseball cap.” Josh then went on to say, “She had no one to impress because she didn’t care.”
Josh was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter saying:
“She was the most eccentric woman I ever knew. All she wanted was to help people and be there for them… The very last thing she said to me in true Edith style was ‘Mamma Mia’ after I said ‘I know you don’t feel so great right now.’ “
Here is a brief interview with Josh speaking about the book he wrote about his grandmothers life. I know this will be my next read.
A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me by Josh Flag
We salute you Edith Flagg.