MEET THE DESIGNER

Barbara Tfank

  • Barbara Tfank launched her eponymous label in 2001, forging a new modern opulence with a line of beautiful brocade cocktail coats and colorful, classically shaped dresses in extraordinary textiles. In pairing flattering silhouettes with luxuriant fabrics and fine hand-tailored craftsmanship, Barbara Tfank has proven herself a notable force in the fashion industry.

    Tfank first discovered her love of textiles and tailoring as a fashion design assistant in her native New York City. As a well-known stylist, she worked internationally, applying her expertise to an array of projects including innovative television commercials in Japan. Tfank's love of classic American and Italian cinema prompted her to pursue a career as a costume designer for feature films. Her first movie was the acclaimed 1992 drama A Midnight Clear, starring Ethan Hawke and Gary Sinese. For her next film Tfank's training in fashion served her well as she selected a trend-setting wardrobe that would come to life in front of the camera. In conceiving the wardrobe for Nick Kazan's Dream Lover, Tfank invited Prada, then little-known in the US, to collaborate on some of the women's costumes, thus creating a novel blend of fashion and film.

    The lilac gown Uma Thurman wore to the 1995 Academy Awards propelled Tfank even further into the world of distinctive design. Working as Prada's design consultant Barbara created the look that prompted one of the greatest Oscar fashion moments, the gown appearing on the front page of Women's Wear Daily's annual Oscar issue the day after the ceremony. Hal Rubenstein chose to include Tfank's design in his book, "100 Unforgettable Dresses".

    Tfank's work exudes imagination, creativity and American sophistication. Cut individually and sewn by a small team of custom-trained seamstresses, Tfank's clothes are the antithesis of mass-manufactured product. Her taste and meticulous attention to detail give each piece architectural and artistic appeal. Tfank's clients admire her craftsmanship and consistent fit, while the allure of the lustrous, luxurious textiles she uses always attracts the true connoisseur. Andre Leon Tally said (Vogue, November 09) "Barbara Tfank's collections are conceived like American Couture in incredible fabrics".

    Vogue commissioned Barbara to design a custom-made couture dress and coat ensemble for the up and coming singer Adele at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in which the young star went on to win Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Adele was featured in Vogue's April 09 Shape Issue wearing Tfank. She recently wore Tfank at her May 2011 performance on Dancing with the Stars and for her June 11 feature story in British Q Magazine. In August 2011 Adele wore Tfank to perform at the MTV awards. After winning a record breaking six Grammys Adele wore Barbara Tfank to celebrate her victory at Sony's 2012 Grammy party.

    In Spring 2010 The First Lady Michelle Obama wore Barbara Tfank's delightful floral jacquard pleated dress to kick off the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride at the White House. Tfank is quoted as saying "I'm thrilled that The First Lady wore my dress and honored that she wore it for such a wonderful occasion...I'm very touched". (LA Times May 18, 2010.) Again on September 21, 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 on that occasion was featured on their recent appearance on Oprah. On May 24, 2011 the First Lady wore Tfank at Buckingham Palace when she and the President met Queen Elizabeth and the British Royal Family. Again on January 25, 2012 The First Lady wore Barbara Tfank's sapphire silk dress for the State of the Union Address.

    Barbara Tfank resides in West Hollywood, California with her husband Peter Markham who heads the Directing Department at The American Film Institute Conservatory. Their West Hollywood home was featured in the November 2009 issue of Elle Decor.

    Barbara Tfank received her BA from Skidmore College and MA from Stanford University.




“To render beauty accessible to all” - Raoul Dufy