Nancy Reagan, Dionne Warwick, Marlo Thomas, Greta Gerwig & More Wear Marilyn Lewis Designs

Nancy Reagan, Betsy Bloomingdale, Edie Gorme, Dionne Warwick, and Dyan Cannon were all fans of Marilyn Lewis’s designs, and today, Cardinali pieces are some of the most coveted vintage pieces of all time. How did a little girl from Cleveland grow up to become the costume designer of the hit 70’s sitcom, ‘That Girl’, and run her own label for 9 years?

Lewis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, watching her family’s fortune disappear in the stock market crash of 1929. She was raised by her grandmother. Lewis had always dreamt of a career designing costumes for the movies, but the bright lights of Hollywood seemed so far away. When her grandmother passed, Marilyn mustered up the courage and headed to Los Angeles to pursue her dream career. 

Instead of designing costumes, she wound up flipping burgers, not literally, but she and her husband, actor Harry Lewis, opened the first Hamburger Hamlet in 1950. The Sunset Strip location was a huge success, and Hamburger Hamlet, to this day, is known by many as the first of the gourmet, customizable hamburgers. In fact, by 1971 there were 19 Hamburger Hamlets in the LA area.

Harry & Marilyn Lewis

Betsy Bloomingdale and Dyan Cannon knew Marilyn because she owned the Hamburger Hamlet hotspots, and after choosing to reignite her passion for fashion design after being bored at home with family life, it was only natural that Marilyn dressed them. 

Marilyn imported her fabrics from Italy, and her husband who was busy running the hamburger empire bought her a factory. Her customers were without a doubt attracted to quality, and Marilyn’s first collection of 35 pieces, including suits, dresses, and gowns sold immediately to Saks 5th Ave.

Actress Marlo Thomas personally called Lewis and asked her to design the costumes for her hit television sitcom, That Girl, which ran from 1966 to ’71, and the rest is history! 

Celebrities and socialites alike have worn looks inspired by the carefree decade, and “Lady Bird” director Greta Gerwig turned heads at the 2018 Hollywood Reporter Oscar nominees party in a vintage orange gown once worn by Marlo Thomas, herself.

Keep scrolling for a look at some of our favorite Cardinali designs from That Girl

And don’t miss our That Girl Thanksgiving Marathon! November 26th, 2020, ALL DAY!

Designer Marilyn Lewis at home
Actress Marlo Thomas in a Cardinali design on the set of That Girl
A sketch by Marilyn Lewis for her line, Cardinali
Marlo Thomas in a yellow Cardinali look
Another yellow Cardinali look featured in an exhibition.
A Cardinali dress worn by Marlo Thomas in That Girl
The same dress worn by Greta Gerwig, among other Cardinali designs
Marlo in the famous bow dress
Marlo Thomas on the set of That Girl
Sketches by designer Marilyn Lewis for her line, Cardinali
A backless fan-printed Cardinali gown
Marlo Thomas in a Cardinali look
One of the most famous Marlo Thomas looks, a fringe top and bell-bottom pants

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