Before the coronavirus clamped down in America, New Yorker Patsy Tarr donated her prized collection of Geoffrey Beene to the Phoenix Art Museum. Speaking from quarantine in Miami, Tarr, who’s traded her signature designer duds for ath-leisure these days, said a roof leak at her East Hampton home, where she meticulously stored more than 350 garments in her attic for decades, cinched the decision. Her connection to the southwestern museum dates to 2009, when it exhibited nearly 40 of her most whimsical custom pieces, particularly jumpsuits and boleros, in “Geoffrey Beene: Trapeze.”
“Dennita Sewell, the curator, did such a nice job that I felt I owed her,” Tarr said.
Her level of devotion to a single designer is a rarity in fashion’s current fast-paced cycle. Tarr said it was even atypical in her circles back then. Their relationship began in 1979 when, in her words, “she threw herself upon him,” to concoct a no-nonsense wardrobe that could take her from motherhood duties by day to glamorous philanthropist by night without fully changing. He identified her circumstances as ideal for jumpsuits, which she wore for 20-odd years in every fabric and style, from wool with long sleeves to seersucker halters. Sans collars, these
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