Juli Lynne Charlot, Inventor of the Poodle Skirt, Dead at 101

Charlot created the iconic circle skirt in 1947

<p>Getty</p> Girl wearing a poodle skirt


Girl wearing a poodle skirt

Juli Lynne Charlot, the inventor of the classic circle skirt, died on March 3, The New York Times confirmed. She was 101 years old.

Charlot, who was born in New York on Oct. 26, 1922, found her fame when she created the circle skirt in 1947 completely by happenstance. The young wife needed a new skirt for a holiday party but didn't quite have the skills — or money — to fashion one, so she took a big circle of felt and cut a smaller circle out of the middle and put it on. She added holiday-themed appliqués and thus, the circle skirt was born.

"If I had known how to sew, or had the money to purchase better materials, I would have never made the circle skirt," she told the United Press in an interview that appeared in the Toledo Blade in 1953.

After receiving so many compliments at the party, Charlot was encouraged. According to the Toledo Blade, she made a few more skirts and took them to a boutique in Beverly Hills, California, where the shop owner offered to sell them. They were an instant hit, and Charlot was officially in business.

After the holidays ended, Charlot expanded her design into what would soon become the iconic poodle skirt — but first she did a dachshund design. Once it was a hit, she expanded into poodles, and the popular sock hop garment blew up among teens across the country and eventually the world. At one point in the 1950s, her skirts were selling for approximately $35, which in today's value, would be about $400, according to The New York Times.

<p>ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams wearing poodle skirts on Laverne & Shirley in 1978

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams wearing poodle skirts on Laverne & Shirley in 1978

Charlot, who was born Shirley Agin, grew up in Los Angeles and was a trained singer. She graduated from Hollywood High School and rubbed elbows with the likes of Judy Garland and Lana Turner in her teen years, according to The New York Times.

She sang with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company before joining the Marx Brothers as a performer during World War II.

While making her living as a performer — which included a stint on Broadway in the 1945 revival of The Red Mill — she changed her name to Juli Lyn.

Married four times during her life, “to two millionaires, a royal count and a son of a baron,” she told The New York Times during an interview ahead of her death, she claimed the first marriage "didn't really count" because they were divorced after three days.

Philip Charlot, a British Royal Navy officer, was the one that gave her the last name that she kept the rest of her life. The two eloped in Las Vegas after the war. However, they eventually divorced after his mother told her she was "destroying" her son, she recalled to The New York Times.

She married two more times, but both ended in divorce. Charlot retired to Tepoztlán, Mexico, which is where she died.

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