(October 12, 1923 - July 16, 2008) USA
Carlos McClendon was born in Bakersfield, CA, and lived the early years of his life in Southern California. He attended schools in Long Beach and later earned a BA from UCLA. He worked as an apprentice set designer at MGM and as a dancer with the Marie Bryant dance troupe before opening his shop, Chequer, in New York in 1954.
He quickly became an early and influential force in boutique retailing, before the word boutique was in general usage. His shop, at the corner of Third Avenue and 50th, Street specialized in uclothes of his own design for men and women, furniture, and art objects, and he travelled widely to acquire raw materials and finished goods, including ethnic textiles and folk art from Japan, Indonesia, Mexico and elsewhere.
The shop was an immediate success, notable for McClendon's special "eye" for the beautiful and unusual, and he counted Greta Garbo and many of the trend-setters of New York among his regular customers. The shop also inspired several imitators.
He spent time living in Haiti and in Mexico as well as in New York, and he eventually opened Chequer West in West Hollywood, frequented like his New York shop by theater, movie and entertainment people, and designers and costumiers. The uniqueness of his inventory and the fine workmanship of his hand-made clothing quickly attracted an all-star clientele like Barbara Streisand, Candace Bergen and the ballerina Nora Kaye.
McClendon retired in 1986 and moved to Pojoaque where he continued as an anonymous supporter of the arts. He moved to Puerto Vallarta in January 2008 to spend his last months by the Pacific Ocean he loved.
Carlos McClendon was in a gay relationship with Christopher Isherwood, George Platt Lynes and Denham Fouts. A resident of Pojoaque/Nambe since 1986, he died of natural causes in Puerto Vallarta, He was aged 84.
Sources: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/ - et alii
Images: George Platt Lynes