The Glove Compartment
(reprinted from WWD 09/09/09)
GLOVES, LIKE SHOES AND OLSENS, by definition come in pairs. But arguably the best-known glove in recent memory never had a mate: Michael Jackson’s sequined, much-celebrated — and not veryau courant — single version.
The soft-spoken woman behind that design is Dorothy Gaspar, a third-generation glovemaker from Budapest. In 1985, she set out for Los Angeles with the dream of outfitting stars — at least from the wrist down. Her custom-made designs are worn by Madonna on her Sticky and Sweet Tour and Lady GaGa in her increasingly Bunuelian videos.
Now. after almost 25 years in business catering to the toast of pop celebrity. Gaspar is launching her first line targeting fashion civilians, the kind who consider public pants-wearing a necessity and have never taken up with a 21-year-old named Jesus. If one implies from the timing that she is trying to capitalize on Jackson’s passing, she begs to differ, saying, “I started to work on it about seven or eight months ago, so that was before [his death].” However, she has created a group of gloves called the Moonwalk in tribute to the pop star. “That’s my way of remembering,” she says.
At her presentation, she will showcase about 40 pairs in leather, lace and a sheer fabric called Touch Tech. which is thin enough to allow for iPhone use. The prices start around $50 and go up to $200 for “crazy creations.”
Gaspar still hand-stitches all of her samples in her Los Angeles studio. She has designs for “Iron Man 2,” “The Green Hornet” and the Broadway revival of “Bye Bye Birdie” in the works.
And while her teenage daughter isn’t yet involved in the business, she supports Mom in other ways. “She’s always texting everybody [while] wearing her gloves,” she says. As for whether she’ll be a fourth-generation glove maker, says Gaspar, “I’m hoping. It’s a process.”