Wednesday, August 3

Frederick John Perry

Fred Perry was born on 18th May 1909 in Stockport England. He was a consummate sportsman becoming world champion table tennis player before later becoming the top tennis player of his generation - winning three straight Wimbledon titles in 1934, 1935 and 1936.




Perry was a great athlete and tennis player but, his brash 'professionalism' did little to endear him to the tennis establishment of the time. Perry, the highly trained and talented tennis player, may have been the last British male to win Wimbledon, but, he never gained the title of a gentleman.


Perry was one of the leading bachelors of the 1930s and his off-court romances were sensationalised in the world press. Perry had a romantic relationship with the actress Marlene Dietrich and in 1934 he announced his engagement to the British actress Mary Lawson, but the relationship fell apart after Perry relocated to America. In 1935 he married an American film star Helen Vinson, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1940. In the meanwhile, Perry had abandoned his British nationality and become an American citizen. In 1941 he was briefly married to a model, Sandra Breaux, but then, in 1945, he married Lorraine Walsh, but the marriage ended quickly. Perry's final marriage to Barbara Riese in 1952 lasted forty years, until his death (1995)

Fred Perry and Marlene Dietrich, 1934

From circa 1935. The caption reads: IN HONOR OF THE NEWLYWEDS- Mr. and Mrs. Fred Perry (Helen Vinson), Carl Brisson, Paramount star of "Ship Cafe" entertained at his Bel Air home the other evening with a dinner party. The host is shown here (left) with Mr. and Mrs. George Jessel (Norma Talmadge) and the guests of honor, Mr. and Mrs. Perry.


In the late 1940s, Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner, an Austrian footballer who had invented an anti-perspirant device worn around the wrist. Perry made a few changes to create the first sweatband.
Wegner's next idea was to produce a sports shirt, which was to be made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves and a buttoned placket like René Lacoste's shirts. Launched at Wimbledon in 1952, the Fred Perry tennis shirt was an immediate success.
The white polo shirt was only supplemented in the late 50s when mods began demanding more varied colour palettes. The Fred Perry shirt became the garment-of-choice for diverse groups of teenagers throughout the 1960s and 70s, ranging from the skinheads to the Northern Soul scene.
The brand's logo is a Laurel wreath. It was based on the original symbol for Wimbledon. The logo, which appears on the left breast of a garment, is stitched into the fabric of the shirt.
The brand is now owned by a Japanese corporation, The brand was previously the clothing sponsor of British tennis player Andy Murray.

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