By  on March 29, 2007

NEW YORK — Franklin Rizzo, president of Gelberg Braid Co. Inc., one of New York's oldest custom trimmings manufacturers, died of a heart attack here on March 14, company designer Ginetta Giaccio said. He was 89.

Gelberg, an 83-year-old millinery, belts, bag and braid resource for Seventh Avenue, works with designers including Calvin Klein's' Francisco Costa, Bill Blass' Michael Volbracht and Donna Karan.

A native New Yorker, Rizzo started off as a salesman before he took over the business from his father Franco. He worked three days a week until his death.

"What a loss," said ready-to-wear designer George Simonton. "I'm celebrating 42 years on Seventh Avenue. He was one of my first people I went to for trim. He couldn't have been a finer gentleman. Franklin was always a pro. Anything I asked him to do — passementerie, whatever — he was there."

Gelberg is also known for supporting Fashion Institute of Technology students, giving free trim and in turn garnering the support of fledgling designers.

Rizzo is survived by his wife Stephanie; three sons, Phillip, William and James, and a granddaughter.

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