Prior to the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938, Sharon’s maternal grandmother, Sarafina Landau, (her Omama), was an accomplished designer for one of the most successful couture houses in Vienna that she owned with her two older sisters. When the Nazis forced the closure of their salon, Sharon’s grandparents realized the only way they could survive was to leave Austria immediately. Fortunately, Sharon’s grandfather’s friend at the Italian Consulate who forged Italian passports for the family, enabling their escape to northern Italy in the summer of 1939. As a result of their finding refuge in Italy, Sharon’s grandparents and their two children, were eventually able to emigrate safely to the United States.
Despite Omama leaving almost everything behind when she fled Austria, she never lost her flair for fashion or elegant taste. Omama’s legacy to Sharon was her wonderful sense of style, her eye for detail and design. It was these early lessons that inspired Sharon’s love of fashion, eventually resulting in her pursuit of a BFA in Fashion Design from the Parsons School of Design of the New School.