Requiescat in Pace: Kal Ruttenstein
Bloomingdale's will honor its dearly departed fashion director, Kalman Ruttenstein, tomorrow at 11:00am in a memorial service at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Although Kal was a well known and much loved star-maker in the fashion firmament and was recently honored by Legal Momentum at its annual Equal Opportunity Awards Dinner, the same designers he championed sometimes had cause for complaint. In the interests of keeping Bloomindale's current and offering cutting-edge fashion at multiple price points, Kal not only stocked brand-name knockoffs but even solicited them from bulk manufacturers. Sometimes these copies of runway fashion appeared at Bloomie's even before the real thing did. As the New York Times reported in Kal's obituary, "Gianni Versace once banned Mr. Ruttenstein from a fashion show because Bloomingdale's carried similar men's wear designs under the store's own label."
Let's hope that Geoffrey Beene isn't staffing the Pearly Gates when Kal arrives. The celebrated designer, who passed away in late 2004, so disliked being copied that he kept a file on those allegedly guilty of copying him.