My Grandmother, Frances Anna Heger Askin Beniades introduced me to the world of fashion. When I was small, just a young girl of eight or so, she started her stories.
Frannie grew up in San Francisco, and then Oakland, California. Her father was an exotic animal dealer who also invested in Real Estate. Grandma Fran was raised in a household with her mother, father, sister and brother alongside dogs, cats, monkeys and the occasional cheetah. She was born in 1904, lived through the Great Earthquake of 1906 and then went on to experience the roaring 20's in one of the most interesting Cities in the United States.
She often made her own clothes, designing them and then sewing them. She desperately wanted to study design. In that era, however, Fashion Design was a man's profession. So, ironically, she became a model. In that capacity, she was able to wear all the amazing clothing of the times. She was photographed in these clothes (see photos) and she modeled them informally at I Magnin in San Francisco, wher
e she walked the store, glamorously clad in gowns, furs and jewels.
Fran was an independant girl. She refused to meet a bo
yfriend at the "employee entrance" and instead walked out the front door of the store she worked in, never to see him again. She claimed to have been one of the first ladies to wear pants in San Francisco during the 1930's. And after her husband died in WWII, she ran her own boarding house.
Always in style and my own personal fashion Icon, my grandma Fran continues to influence my life. I think about her daily and I miss her very much. She died in the winter of 1996 after a long battle with Alzhiemers. She was almost 92 years old. I hope you enjoy these photos of her in her youth. They remind me of the stories she told and the adventures she had in the prime of her life.