Barbra Streisand wore this textured Bill Kaiserman Rafael blazer in the first scene of “The Main Event” (1979). Two time Academy Award nominee Ruth Myers worked as the costume designer on this film. Designer Bill Kaiserman was born in Brooklyn, NYC the same year as Barbra (1942). He studied drama and went on to have a career in millinery-with no formal training, under the label Rafael. He soon started making sweaters, silk shirts, suede and leatherwear to compliment his hats. His clothes were sophisticated, soft and casual.
They were produced in Italy to high standards with luxurious fabrics. When comparing menswear to womenswear he stated “There are just a few shapes that are acceptable, there is less room for fantasy.” He believes men should not look too formal, styled, or contrived. “Women, on the other hand, look fabulous when the body shape is emphasized and exaggerated.” In the 1980’s Kaiserman closed Rafael and moved to Italy because his business had gotten too big for him to handle. He claimed he spent 90% of the time running the business and had no time left to actually design. After five years he came back to designing, but for other companies. In the course of his career, Kaiserman won the Coty American Fashion Critics Award four times and is a member of the Coty hall of fame.
This semi fitted, chenille, single breasted blazer shows many of the hallmarks that Kaiserman did best. It features a shawl color with one button hole in the lapel. Broad shoulder pads give way to light gathering at each shoulder, creating a waterfall effect. There is a two button closure as well as two besom pockets at the front. There is a center back seam with no vent. In the film, this was paired with a maroon belt to accentuate and define Barbra’s waistline as well as a gold & amethyst brooch, which likely came from her personal collection.