Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Tribute to Josephine Carbone

Josephine Carbone
We all have that special someone in our lives.  A person who helped form us and influence us in a positive manner.  For me that person was my grandmother who the public knew as Josephine or "Jo" Carbone.  To me, she was a larger than life person, part Auntie Mame, part Diana Vreeland. As a child growing up, I was so lucky to live next door to her.  Many, many days were spent at her house doing daily shopping, rearranging her house, and simply talking on the couch.  My favorite stories were those of her early days in the field of retail, and her days spent at Denholms.  She talked about the past, ...and of Denholms like that of a long lost friend who she wished to revisit.  She reminisced about her 25 year span at Denholms and how her career changed over the years.  Her favorite years were the 1960's, " fashion was changing,everything seemed new again" she would remark. And she was right, the 1960's were the pinnacle of her career.  She had just been promoted to buyer of all of women's ready-to-wear after Elsie McCarthy's retirement.  This afforded her more opportunities to travel the world and purchase imported sweaters, blouses, etc... for the store, as well as hold in house fashion shows where she would do the commentary which would help educate the customers towards the new trends, silhouettes, and color pallet of each season.  She also enjoyed her time spent with the fashion advisory board which was made up of young high school and college students training under her and other managers at Denholms.

  As her career grew, so did her responsibilities with the store.  Within the next few years she would be promoted to Divisional Merchandise Manager responsible over all of the women's, children's, and mens departments.  Unfortunately she did not get more than a few years into her new title before the store changed hands and ultimately closed. 

left to right- Lucy Lonergan, Clarisse Morrisey, Edith Thomas, Jo Carbone, Lillian MacNeil at Elsie McCarthy's retirement party 1961
In her office on Chatham 3

Photo taken on the third floor in the Dress department

Leaving work by the High street entrance

My Grandmother with Marion Freedman, Taken at my grandmothers going away party at Denholms
  Personally I want to thank my grandmother for influencing and inspiring me to this day.  My passion for Denholms is directly related to her days spent there.  Whenever I go into the building and escalate up to the third floor I always think of her walking around in high heels, conducting business and decked out in the latest fashions. My love of Denholms was spawned from my grandmother, and in my heart, both she and the store will live on  forever.