An unbelievable enterprise associate who redefined the posh market. A helpful mentor who “knew all of it”. A sort hearted soul and a real good friend. For many years George Malkemus performed an enormous function within the lives of so many individuals within the vogue trade.
Right here, key gamers in retail and footwear recall the chief, a singular power who died Thursday after a protracted battle with most cancers.
Josh Schulman, CEO of Michael Kors
“George was considered one of a form. He was an achieved gentleman whose heat and appeal belied a crafty tenacity and fierce aggressive spirit. Whereas I used to be on Jimmy Choo, it was a number of enjoyable competing in opposition to George whereas setting the bar actually excessive. And whereas he was at Bergdorf Goodman, I cherished attending to know him higher as a enterprise associate and good friend.
He may at all times see one step forward. He was on the forefront in remodeling the posh footwear market from being dominated by conservative factory-based manufacturers to at least one based mostly on design and persona. Dominating the New York runways earlier than ready-to-wear manufacturers made their very own footwear was a precursor to in the present day’s age of collaborations. Its shut relationships with wholesale clients and adoring clients who would flock to the trunk present particular buyer centricity lengthy earlier than an algorithm. And he was a pioneer in how one can harness the ability of movie star. “
Tracy Margolies, Chief Advertising and marketing Officer, Saks
“George was an excellent mild not solely on a private degree, but additionally professionally. He was a real gentleman who cared deeply for individuals and their households. I used to be welcomed into the world of footwear early in my profession and we spent hours on the ground collectively reviewing purchases and attending to know one another. He was a caring soul and a real good friend, not only a enterprise associate. He will likely be deeply missed.”
Jeffrey Kalinsky, Founder, Jeffrey
“I met him round 1987. I had simply been named a ladies’s shoe shopper at Barneys, and Bonnie Pressman informed me we had been going to have lunch with George. That was one thing essential for a brand new shoe purchaser. Manolo Blahnik was nonetheless gaining floor, however he was already our greatest model at Barneys. George was a job mannequin for me instantly. He was a incredible businessman, he had unbelievable style and he was dwelling and proud as a homosexual man, which meant rather a lot to me as a result of he was nonetheless fighting all of that. George turned considered one of my heroes.
In 1990, after I left Barneys to open my retailer in Atlanta, it was paramount to convey Manolo Blahnik. I knew the shop would not be legitimate if we did not, and that was due to George. For many individuals in the US, George was actually the Manolo Blahnik model.
George knew every little thing. It taught me rather a lot, even issues like who to ask for flowers. I realized rather a lot from him. I used to be very fortunate “.
Julee Butler, Vice President and DMM, Ladies’s Sneakers, Neiman Marcus
“George was an incredible enterprise associate and good friend. These of us who had the privilege of working with him acknowledged how really particular he was. His impeccable style, class, love for the product, and most significantly, the deep-rooted relationships he cultivated have made him a legacy within the trade. A few of my fondest reminiscences had been our market dates with George, his crew, and the Neiman Marcus retailers, the place all of us sat on the showroom ground for hours with a whole bunch of footwear, provides, and coloration swatch playing cards, creating stunning unique merchandise. Trying again, these had been such enjoyable, magical and treasured instances with our beloved George. “
Ken Downing, artistic director of American Dream; Former vogue director, Neiman Marcus
“Sociable and charismatic, George was an incredible persona who stuffed a room with nice tales and laughs. Showroom appointments had been at all times greater than writing orders with George. I’m heartbroken for this pricey and great man who has left us. However what a legacy he leaves behind: George redefined the designer footwear market, burst onto the scene with Manolo Blahnik, and constructed a monumental enterprise that will develop into the best ‘shoe’ of all time. George was as obsessed with his beloved Arethusa Farms as he was concerning the shoe empire he created with Manolo, and later Sarah Jessica Parker. Our trade has misplaced a legend, a visionary and a real icon ”.