Lesser Known Label-Nat Kaplan

If you run across a dress, suit or coat with the Nat Kaplan label, you should take a closer look at it.  You will  probably find it extremely well made from very nice quality fabrics. It will very  likely have a classic look to it and be finely tailored. Because these are the kinds of fashions  Nat Kaplan’s company manufactured from 1935 to around 1986.


Nat Kaplan 1952 tweed jersey suit courtesy of Dovima is Devine’s  photostream     .

Nat Kaplan suit 1952 Vogue

Nat Kaplan suit 1952 Vogue

After his untimely death in 1956 his wife Sylvia. who was a teacher and homemaker with four children, decided  to  take over the  running of the company, along with her son, Richard.

From a newspaper article in the Hutchinson News Herald, January 1957.

Mrs Kaplan figured that when a woman buys a dress she not only wants something fashionable and flattering, but that is comfortable and easy to wear.  So she started trying on every dress in the line before it was ever cut for production.

So, while raising her children  alone, she also ran the dress company and was the fit model as well! I get exhausted just thinking about it!

She said “I know the things I look for when I buy a dress. I want to be able raise my arms without pulling the sleeve seams, I want to be able to get into the dress easily, and I want to be able to move freely in it.  So I try on every dress in every design and if it binds anywhere, we correct the fault.”

Nat Kaplan dress ad 1958 Vogue

Nat Kaplan dress ad 1958 Vogue

There are lots of things that are the same in running a home and a business.  If you apply the same sense to buying fabrics that you do to ordering groceries, if you  try to be courteous and thoughtful in your business dealings,  and if you appreciate efficient and loyal help, I don’t see how you can go wrong.”  Simple, yet sage advice from a lady whose fashions ended up being quite sought after, selling for hundreds of dollars and up.

A 1960 article by Mary Brandel Hopkins for the Capital Times described her collection that year as “styled in the height of fashion, from quality materials, with careful workmanship,  the clothes speak softly of beauty with restrained elegance.

Bravo to Mrs. Kaplan for keeping the family business together,  saving the jobs of many employees who had worked at the company for up to 20 years and putting out a fabulous clothing line to boot!

Vogue Ad 1966- “Nat Kaplan never does the obvious”

Nat Kaplan embroidered cotton lace evening dress 1966

Nat Kaplan embroidered cotton lace evening dress 1966


Here are the Nat Kaplan labels to look for , courtesy of the Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource.

Nat Kaplan labels

Nat Kaplan labels

Because the Nat Kaplan label is not as well known as some  other collectible vintage labels,  you can still pick up some very nice  pieces for much less than they originally cost.   A good value  that will likely increase  as quality vintage gets harder and harder to find.

And we’ve just recently listed this cute classic, mint condition,  60s  Nat Kaplan Couture  summer dress in a lovely black eyelet fabric. Dress  measures 38″ bust, 31″ waist.  Perfect for an informal summer wedding or cocktail party!  Click on image for more info.

60s Black Eyelet Nat Kaplan dress

60s Black Eyelet summer dress by Nat Kaplan Couture

By | 2014-09-18T14:25:21-04:00 July 18th, 2012|Fashion, Labels to Look For|3 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa
    Theresa August 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Hey Stephanie, thanks so much for posting that information about your Dad. How fun for you that you got to visit the showrooms when you were a young girl. I really appreciate the quality of the Nat Kaplan line and it’s great that your Dad played an integral part in helping them produce their lovely garments.

  2. Avatar
    Stephanie Modica Paris August 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I can hardly believe I found this site. My Dad John Modica was a huge part of the success of this company. He was the Production Manger for all those years-he worked for Nat Kaplan when he first started and my Dad left to start his own business. When Mr. Kaplan passed away Mrs. Kaplan asked my Dad to step in and run the company she needed his knowledge and contacts since she was not involoved before. Richard Kaplan was very young and had to learn his way around the garment business . I spent many days as a child visitng the Showroom at 498 Seventh Avenue. I remember Mrs. Kaplan trying on the samples and also models. That was in the 50’s my Dad was there almost until they closed.

  3. Avatar
    isabella July 19, 2012 at 7:13 am


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