Retailer Fred Hayman helped make Rodeo Drive, well, Rodeo Drive, and now the city of Beverly Hills wants to thank him.
Hayman, who ran Giorgio Beverly Hills and then the Fred Hayman boutique from 1962 to 1998, is being honored Monday night at a black-tie party on a street off the famed shopping thoroughfare for his influence on business and cultural institutions.
"I never thought of myself as a milestone man," said Hayman, 82. "But of course it's a great honor, and I don't want to downplay that. It's very emotional to me."
Wolfgang Puck and chefs from the Peninsula Hotel and The Grill restaurant will cater the event, and Jacqueline Bisset, Lee Iacocca and Judith Krantz are among those on the guest list, along with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Swiss-born Hayman started out in the hotel business. In 1962, he launched Giorgio Beverly Hills, pushing the concept of luxury service. His best customers were chauffeured to the store in a Rolls-Royce, where Champagne and highballs awaited them. The royal treatment paid off. The boutique lured the city's jet set in the Sixties and Seventies, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, David Janssen, Ali MacGraw and Janet Leigh.
The store also helped boost brands such as Halston, Theo Porter and Giorgio Sant'Angelo. "Fashion is exciting if you know what to buy, and how to merchandise it, and how to be different,'' he said.
Hayman spearheaded the celebrity perfume, Giorgio Beverly Hills, and sold the Giorgio Beverly Hills name and fragrance to Avon in 1987, when he renamed the store Fred Hayman, and bought the corner building that housed it. He then launched five more successful fragrances, including 273 for Women. In 1988, he became the fashion coordinator for the Academy Awards ceremony, which entailed writing letters to designers in New York and Paris, requesting dresses for celebrities. "In those days, you had to almost beg for clothes," he said.
In 1998, he retired from retail, closing the store and leasing the space to current tenant Louis Vuitton."If you do something, you have to go for the success of it,'' he said. "That's the enjoyment. That's the bottom line of everything."
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