By Diana Cavagnaro | Fashion Files
Peggy Henry Matthews spent most of her life in the world of fashion and was considered a key figure in San Diego until her recent passing. When she first arrived in San Diego, she took a job as regional promotion director for the Broadway department stores. She continued working with Broadway for more than 10 years. In the early ’80s, Matthews was one of the founders of the San Diego branch of Fashion Group International (FGI). Her expertise helped make FGI a group that anyone in the fashion industry would be proud to belong to.
Matthews began her fashion journey when she received a bachelor of science in home economics and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She pursued graduate work in Mexico City and at that time developed a love for travel. After returning to St. Paul, she began modeling. At this time, she learned that what she really wanted to do was produce fashion shows, so she accepted a position as fashion coordinator and special events liaison for two stores in St. Paul and Minneapolis. This job transitioned into working with fashion magazines in New York.
On a buying trip to New York, she was offered a job with Mademoiselle Magazine as Midwest editor based in Chicago. She worked with them for 17 years, traveling and doing fashion shows until she met the love of her life, Bob Matthews. They married and traveled the world together until they decided to settle down in San Diego.
When Matthews retired, she still kept her hand in fashion doing publicity for fashion events and galas in San Diego. She was in charge of media and always made sure they were invited to these events. Matthews was always the go-to gal when you wanted to find out what was happening in fashion. She was my guide in learning the ropes of being a fashion journalist and I will always be grateful for her guidance and generosity.
Matthews filled her life with volunteer leadership works: Klee Wyk Society president, Museum of Man trustee, University of San Diego School of Business Advisory Board member, and served on the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s board of directors. As a philanthropist she gave to A New Path, Committee of One Hundred, Elderhelp of San Diego, Meals on Wheels, the Old Globe Theatre, Salk Institute, Salvation Army, San Diego History Center, San Diego Museum of Man, USO, and Vista Hill Foundation. She left a huge legacy here and will be missed but never forgotten.
March 3–June 26. Fashion Redux: 90 Years of Fashion Exhibition: Ninety years of fashion is on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. This showcases local students from San Diego Mesa College School of Fashion & Design. For more information, visit sandiegohistory.org
Friday, May 25. Lizz Russell Cocktails & Couture 2018: Beauty of Fashion & Compassion at the Westgate Hotel from 6–9 p.m. Benefits the GBS/CIDP Foundation. For tickets, visit westgatehotel.com
Saturday May 5. San Diego Fashion Fest: Held at Bread & Salt on 1955 Julian Ave. Fashion Show begins at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit: bit.ly/2r6FJNJ
— Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at DianaCavagnaro.com