MEET THE DESIGNER
Barbara Tfank launched her eponymous label in 2001, forging a new opulence with a line of beautiful brocade cocktail coats and colorful, classically shaped dresses. Pairing flattering silhouettes with luxuriant fabrics and fine hand-tailored craftsmanship, she has made herself a notable force in fashion. Tfank's work exudes imagination, creativity, and sophistication. Cut individually and sewn by custom-trained seamstresses, her clothes are the antithesis of mass-manufactured product, her taste and meticulous attention to detail giving each piece artistic appeal. Her clients admire her craftsmanship and consistent fit, while the allure of the luxurious textiles she uses attracts the true connoisseur. André Leon Tally said "Barbara Tfank's collections are conceived like American Couture in incredible fabrics".
Tfank discovered her love of textiles and tailoring as a design assistant in her native New York City. A well-known stylist, she worked internationally, applying her expertise to projects including innovative TV commercials in Japan. Her love of classic American and Italian cinema then prompted a career as a costume designer for feature films, her first movie the acclaimed A Midnight Clear, starring Ethan Hawke. For the trend-setting wardrobe of her next film, Dream Lover, she invited Prada to collaborate on the women's costumes, creating an innovative blend of fashion and film. Working as Prada's consultant the lilac gown she created for Uma Thurman at the 1995 Academy Awards Barbara prompted one of the great Oscar fashion moments, the gown appearing on the front page of Women's Wear Daily's Oscar issue, Hal Rubenstein choosing to include it in his book, "100 Unforgettable Dresses".
Vogue commissioned Tfank to design a couture dress and coat ensemble for the singer Adele at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in which the young star won Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Adele was featured in Vogue's April 09 Issue wearing Tfank, her look becoming iconic. In 2011, the singer wore Tfank at the MTV Awards, as she did again at Sony's 2012 Grammy party to celebrate her record-breaking six Grammys.
In Spring 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama wore Tfank's delightful floral jacquard pleated dress at the White House to launch the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride. In September 2011 the First Lady wore Tfank's morning glory dress as she and the President presented the Medal of Honor, the iconic photo of the President and First Lady walking hand in hand featured on Oprah. In May 2011 Mrs Obama wore Tfank to Buckingham Palace when she and the President met Queen Elizabeth. In January 2012 the First Lady wore Tfank's sapphire silk dress for the State of the Union Address. Mrs Obama has worn Tfank on the campaign trail and worn designs featured in Vogue Daily August 2014. In October 2014 Tfank was invited by The First Lady to serve as mentor at the first White House Fashion Workshop. Tfank’s workspace, featuring her whimsical floral designs fashioned into a patchwork tablecloth, was highlighted in Vogue.com.
Barbara Tfank continues to dress some of the world’s most sought after talents. Rita Ora wore the collection for a feature story in Glamour UK in January 2013. Diablo Cody wore custom Tfank for Vogue in March 2013. Recently, a Tfank-clad pregnant Kate Winslet was featured in the cover story of Vogue November 2013, with Nicole Kidman featured in Vanity Fair in December 2013. In July 2016, Mrs. Obama wore a white laser cut pique dress at the final Children’s State Dinner at the White House.
Tfank resides in West Hollywood, California with her husband Peter Markham, who heads up the MFA Directing Discipline at The American Film Institute Conservatory. Barbara received a BA from Skidmore College and MA from Stanford.