NEW YORK — Kenneth Karlstein, vice president and general merchandise manager of ready-to-wear for Bloomingdale’s Direct, will retire on Jan. 30 after 44 years in retail and wholesale.
“I worked very intense. Now I am going to play very intense,” said the 61-year-old Karlstein, who reported to Marilyn Carracino, senior vice president of merchandising, Bloomingdale’s Direct.
Karlstein started his career as an executive trainee at the former Gertz department store, became a juniors’ buyer at Burdines and later Bloomingdale’s. He then shifted to Bonwit Teller as senior vice president and gmm for ready-to-wear and home, working under Kal Ruttenstein, who was president of the store at the time and is currently senior vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s.
Karlstein was a Gap senior vice president and gmm for activewear, and held top wholesale spots, including president of Bugle Boy juniors, president of Maxima Leather and president of Item Limited. He rejoined Bloomingdale’s in 1999.
“I was fortunate to work with several leaders of 20th century retailing,” Karlstein said, citing Alfred Daniels, Harold Krensky, Marvin Traub, Mel Jacobs, Michael Gould and Rose Wells, among others.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"