Jean Rosenberg, whose eagle-eyed merchandising and designer discoveries helped outline the Fifth Avenue specialty retailer Henri Bendel, died June 15 on the age of 97.
A memorial service will not be being deliberate.
He died, simply two weeks shy of his 98th birthday, within the Central Park South condominium in Manhattan the place he had lived for greater than 50 years, in accordance with his nephew Robert Kravitz. “Mainly, she needed to reside there as a result of Bendel’s was on 57th Road. It was actually proper exterior her again door,” she stated.
Throughout his lifetime, Rosenberg nearly took up an expert residency at Henri Bendel, the place he labored for greater than 30 years, all underneath the tutelage of former President Geraldine Stutz. Stutz was identified for calling her second-in-command “Henri Bendel’s style aware” and collectively they had been minstrels in main skilled girls into retail management positions. Most of Rosenberg’s tenure concerned serving as vp and director of merchandising for a retailer’s jeweler.
Positioned in a 10-story row home at 10 West 57th Road, it was steps from Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, and different prized Midtown specialty shops. Identified merely as “Bendel’s,” the shop grew to become a must-see for a lot of rich girls and trendy younger urbanites who had been drawn to its dazzling décor, finely edited combine, and Fifth Avenue window shows.
Led by Stutz, Rosenberg was instrumental in creating “Store Road” in 1959. Architect H. McKim Glazebrook created 12 small outlets with a important avenue working by way of them and connecting alleys. Designer idea shops had been added in 1965. His efforts had been primarily the forerunners of the big-name, designer idea shops that dominate the retail scene at this time. The design was such that customers needed to stroll a path that took them by way of varied designer idea shops. With no direct route from any level A to level B, they had been uncovered to way more merchandise.
Rosenberg instructed The New York Occasions in 2006 that Henri Bendel’s “was for a specific kind of New York lady, the place she might discover a uniformity of style and a sure consolation in a small atmosphere, the place every little thing in a retailer was to her liking.” . .”
Because the lead purchaser for the retailer, she was integral to the shop’s style management place on the time. Alongside the best way, Rosenberg introduced out designers like Krizia, Sonia Rykiel, Jean Muir, Chloe and Emmanuelle Khanh. Henri Bendel was additionally the launching pad for Stephen Burrows, who designed the Bendel’s Studio line, an in-house model, from 1971 to 1973, after which once more in 1977. After being found by Stutz, the late designer Carlos Falchi targeted on leather-based baggage. . With the help of Henri Bendel, Falchi developed a multi-million greenback model. One other designer, Bruce Oldfield, began at Henri Bendel, designing for his personal label for a 12 months or two within the early 1970s. Oldfield returned to the UK to arrange his personal label, which continues to be in operation.
Different style abilities orbited by way of Henri Bendel early of their careers through the Stutz-Rosenberg years, together with Joan Kaner, who first joined the shopping for workplace in 1967; a teenage Robert Rufino in 1971, who had an 11-year profession in visible merchandising, and Marion Greenberg, who launched into a nine-year place within the retailer’s buying workplace in 1971.
Rufino stated of Rosenberg: “She introduced and found so many sensible designers to this nation, from Jean Charles de Castelbajac to Stephen Sprouse and so forth. She was so spot on… Bendel’s was the chief. After all, we had been a small retailer on the time. When Saks or Bergdorf Goodman gave designers a double order, we misplaced high designers.”
Bendel’s was “such an exquisite mixture of treasures that the ladies would usually store three or 4 instances per week,” Rufino stated. “There was no different retailer like Bendel’s. Folks used to flock to Bendel’s. It was the place to be. You entered the primary ground and heard lovely music. The stage was like being in somebody’s home. There was boutique after boutique on each ground. You had your salesperson serving to you. Folks cared about you. It was the golden age of retail. I do not assume there’ll ever be a retailer like this once more. Jeannie was concerned in merchandising issues, constructing shops, what was the correct mix.”
Kaner recalled on Saturday how Rosenberg made it a follow to “strive on each piece of merchandise we acquired to ensure it match proper and the proportions had been good. she solely had one eye [for fashion]. However she additionally went forward to ensure the product would imply to the enterprise what she thought it could imply. She was an incredible particular person.”
Kaner, whose profession culminated as senior vp and chief style officer at Neiman Marcus, stated of Rosenberg, “She was my first boss in retail. I actually realized rather a lot from her.”
Within the 1970s, style was altering, with pants gaining in recognition and skirts being outshone. “You needed to have an open thoughts about style and what ought to be or should not be. Jean and I had been in sync about what it ought to be and that it is best to strive all of these items,” Kaner stated.
By way of the seventies, the flagship retailer was “theThe place to buy and the “prospects” included model referees Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Babe Paley, in addition to Cher now and again, Greenberg stated. “The environment at Henri Bendel saved the employees working onerous. Everybody at all times needed to do what was finest for the shop. They actually cherished the shop. Their pursuits weren’t in themselves or their careers. It actually was for the great of the shop. We love Jean and Geraldine and needed to do what was finest for our shoppers and our prospects.”
Within the 1950s and 1960s, designer sportswear was a brand new idea, and Rosenberg continuously traveled to Europe for purchasing journeys. US consumers would journey with their very own tape measures to make sure the European measurement was appropriate. Earlier than Henri Bendel, he started his style profession at Gunther Jaeckal after which moved on to Bonwit Teller, one other prestigious specialty retailer.
With Stutz, Rosenberg developed the European ready-to-wear enterprise for the shop and outlined the look of Bendel. A lot of his finds had been displayed within the “Cachet” condominium on the third ground. In addition they welcomed untested designers, internet hosting weekly showings on Fridays to offer aspiring expertise an opportunity to indicate off their collections. Lots of of individuals routinely lined up every week, unfazed by the hours-long wait on the sidewalk.
With its assortment, the retailer catered to the subtle on the lookout for some exclusivity. As discriminatory as this will likely sound by at this time’s requirements, Stutz not often ordered clothes above a measurement 10. Jacqui Wenzel, Rosenberg’s longtime assistant, recalled how Rosenberg as soon as instructed her that Yves Saint Laurent had worn the measurements. of her physique to create a measurement six for her American clothes. -Assortment to go. “A measurement six, previously, was the smallest,” Wenzel stated Saturday.
Regardless of a 35-year friendship, Wenzel stated her former boss was nonetheless “Mrs. Rosenberg”. Whereas trying out a few of Rosenberg’s stuff lately, Wenzel learn a speech Rosenberg had given to LIM college students within the late 1960s, predicting that the excessive style market was altering and that ready-to-wear could be the fashionable lady’s selection. “It appeared like she was already forward of the sport when it got here to the high-end market,” Wenzel stated. “Jean thought-about herself a contemporary lady of the time. She by no means married, by selection.
In an obituary for Stutz, who died in 2006, Rosenberg defined that he had a imaginative and prescient for the sort of retailer he needed to create. Rosenberg had joined Henri Bendel six months earlier than Stutz’s arrival in 1957 and the duo cut up collectively in 1986, after the shop was offered to The Restricted, the retail conglomerate based by Leslie Wexner.
Six years earlier, Stutz had assembled a gaggle of buyers and led the acquisition of the shop from Genesco, which had bought the shop in 1957. Genesco president Maxey Jarman made the daring resolution to put in Stutz as president at a time when management on the government degree was in brief provide. Her lead position within the 1980 takeover made Stutz the primary American lady to personal a significant New York retailer. Stutz-Rosenberg’s departure marked the top of one of many longest energy partnerships in American retail.
After retiring, Rosenberg appreciated to discuss style merchandising at occasions for business professionals and style and design faculty college students, his nephew stated. As for outdoor pursuits of the job, Kravitz stated, “The job was his curiosity. She was proud to have set out and had a profession in style. In her day, I do not assume many ladies graduated from faculty. She needed a profession within the style enterprise and he or she went to high school for a level to make it possible for did not cease her.”
His hometown of Cambridge, Ohio, 74 miles southeast of Columbus, won’t have screamed style. However her father owned a boutique there referred to as Model Middle, and her mom additionally had a hands-on strategy to enterprise. When she was a baby, she accompanied him on his purchasing journeys to Manhattan and overseas. After graduating from Ohio State College, Rosenberg started her profession working for her father.
Preceded in demise by her sister Nancy, Rosenberg is survived by her nephew and niece Nancy Kravitz.