Category Archives: Coty Award


Nancy Reagan wearing Adolfo in her Pedro Menocal portrait

Adolfo (Adolfo F. Sardina), the Cuban born designer (and cousin of society portraitist Pedro Menocal) was one of mother’s favorite designers in late 60s New York.  After graduating from the University of Havana in 1948, he emigrated to the U.S. and served in the navy.  His fashion career started when he became an apprentice milliner at Bergdorf’s in the early 50s and then moved to Balenciaga in Paris and also Chanel –primarily as a milliner or hat maker.  He moved permanently to New York in the earlier sixties and opened his own millinery salon, winning a coveted Coty award for his designs.  Soon he began to design clothes which grew in popularity and surpassed his success with hats.  In the late sixties, inspired by Chanel’s cardigan style suits of the 1930s he began a long line of knitwear suits with increasingly sensational adornments that captured the favor of the likes C.Z. Guest, the Duchess of Windsor, Nancy Reagan and Mother.  His clothes are in the collections of the Met, the Smithsonian, LACMA and other museums.  He retired at the top of his game in 1993 to the dismay of many of his clients.