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Tidbits About Fashion Designer, Jane Imbs Trimble-Schaffhausen

When I acquire a piece of vintage clothing for resale at my online shop, it's my nature to find out as much as possible about the designer before I put a price on it.  My recent fashion find is a prairie style dress designed by Jane Schaffhausen for her label Belle France. During my research on the internet, I found the following tidbits about her.  I am especially amazed with the people she was surrounded by in her childhood years such as Gertrude Stein who was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector who rubbed close elbows with Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemmingway and Henri Matisse to name a few.  Marcel Duchamp was a French-American painter and sculptor and Henry Miller was an American writer. It's no surprise that I read that her inspirations came from museums, the theater, and print archives with all of the artistic influence she gained as a young lady. How do I put a price on a design that was created by such an amazing woman?


She was born in Paris September 17, 1929.

During her early childhood years, she was surrounded by artists and writers.

Gertrude Stein was her godmother.

Alice B. Toklas baked her cookies.

Marcel Duchamp gave her drawing lessons.

Henry Miller played children’s games with her.

She modeled for Elsa Schiaparelli.

She Studied at Vassar College.

Her first store was in Birmingham, Michigan called the Village Store.

By the time she was 28 years old, she had five stores that eventually expanded to 12.

Her label, Belle France’s revenues totaled $26 million in fiscal 1986.

Her employees at her fashion district office wore only the Belle France dresses.

She didn’t like woman to wear suits; she said woman shouldn’t look like men.

Her father was writer Bravig Imbs.

Her mother was a Latvian countess.

Recipient Entrepreneur Woman’s Award, Woman in Business 1981, Member of Phi Beta Kappa

President, Village Store, Birmingham, Michigan, 1953—1967, New York City, 1961—1977, Belle France, Incorporated, New York York City, 1974—1982, chairman, since 1982.

References: Archives - 1986 AP News Article, 1981 New York Times article

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  • Nice to hear from you Kathy. There are so many ladies that love their Belle France dresses. I recently sold one that I had in my collection. The buyer was in California. She was so excited to receive it. I have others in my collection and will offer them for sale after I get pictures taken.

    Alice Lowe
  • Hello! I have just tried on my Jane Schaffhausen dress from the late 80’s. I appreciate your thorough work on this designer. I am now 61, and just could not part with this dress. With it on with my booties, I feel straight out of Little Women. Hmmm not sure if I will ever wear it again or not. But I love it!

    Kathy Layo
  • Hi Chrissy,

    Feel free to share with a link back to my website.

    We’d all love to hear more about your aunt.

    Alice Lowe
  • i’d love to share she was truly an amazing woman

  • Hi Maureen,

    Thank you so much for your comment about your friendship with Jane Schaffhausen. I still have a few fashion pieces designed by her in my collection. What a great time that must have been for you. Feel free to share more about your experiences with her. We all would love to hear what you have to share.

    Alice Lowe

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