Surprisingly, the company survived the plaid debacle. Raoul succeeded in replacing the company’s board of directors with his own hand-picked men, and in 1955 he forced his father out of the company.

“Bitter? For a while, sure. Like until about ten minutes ago. Oh, wait, I was wrong, I just remembered: I’m still bitter. Little bastard. Let me tell you what he does - says he’s making me head of his new line of Senior Leisure Wear. Makes me parade around Manhattan in these suits he’s designed. They wasn’t made of Swetz-alot, either, so not only do I look like I’m wearing the pyjamas of a Cuban pimp, I’m back to stinking like last year’s lettuce.”

Barney Dorcus died in 1973 when he fell asleep on his stomach with his arms over his head, nose turned into the left armpit. Cause of death was asphyxiation. In his last years he had mellowed somewhat, coming to terms with his son’s design aesthetic. “At least it’s true to the Dorcus family trait,” he said. “It stinks.”

Raoul Dorcus was the company’s sole designer from the early sixties to the mid seventies, and one can safely say he was the most influential man on the fashion scene for a decade and a half. Following is a selection from the company portfolio. “All I want,” Barney Dorcus once said, “is for the family name to live on after I’m gone. I want it to mean something. I want people in the future to look at another guy’s outfit and say, whatta Dorcus. And I think they will.”

Minus one syllable, of course, they still do.


NEXT: A sample of the company's most remarkable designs.