Fig Leaves and Fortunes: A Fashion Company Named Warnaco

John W. Field, Author Phoenix Pub. $25 (160p) ISBN 978-0-914659-46-4
A family firm founded in New York City in 1874 as a corset company, Warnaco Corporation has grown into an apparel giant that counts Hathaway Shirts, White Stag Sportswear and Puritan Knits among its many divisions. The interwoven saga of Warnaco and the Warner family that built it into a Fortune 500 company is told here by former CEO Field, a great-grandson of one of the founders. While the early sections of the book are marred by pedestrian prose and superficial social commentary, the tale grows compelling as the author chronicles his own rise to power. Field writes that clashing management strategies impelled him to wrest control from his father and pursue an aggressive diversification drive in the '50s and '60s in order to meet the increasingly sophisticated tastes of consumers. Despite the phenomenal expansion under his tenure, a combination of market trends, corporate growth pains and office politics led to his ouster in 1977, according to Field. Somewhat self-servingly, he indicts a new generation of executives whose penchants for quick profits and deal-making he considers counterproductive to corporate stability. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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