Jewish Community Services’ (JCS) Miami Beach Senior Center celebrated the 95th Birthday of client Sylvia Whyte. Sylvia, a fashion designer, famous for dressing the children of Hollywood celebrities including Debbie Reynolds, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
In honor of her birthday, a fashion show featuring Whyte’s designs took place at the JCS Miami Beach Senior Center. In addition, a medal was presented from the Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine to Sylvia for her distinctive contributions to the community. Gloria Campos, Secretary to the Office of the Mayor and Commission at the city of Miami Beach presented Sylvia with the honor.
Sylvia’s illustrious career had begun at the end of World War II, when she opened an exclusive retail shop on Lincoln Road that was an instant success. Trained as an art student at Cooper Union in New York, Sylvia entered the field of design, a difficult endeavor for women in those days. However, a dress she designed for her own daughter launched Whyte’s career and celebrities flocked to her store. She subsequently expanded with stores on Collins Avenue, the Eden Roc Hotel, a second store on Lincoln Road and one in Coral Gables.
In 1962, Whyte began manufacturing high-end infant wear and clothes for girls up to preteens. Her namesake label was sold at exclusive retailers all over the country including; Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Macy’s. Whyte described her line as “high-style fashion for kids at prices that aren’t exorbitant.” In 1988, Saks celebrated 25 years of a glorious relationship with the icon. In 1993 Whyte was named one of the 25 most influential women in children’s clothing. It is only ’fitting’ that the entire community recognize and honor this local treasure on her milestone birthday.
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