PHILADELPHIA — Two years after his death, Tom Marotta, who was vice president of couture at Saks Fifth Avenue, is being honored in his hometown with an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art called “Inspiring Fashion: Gifts From Designers Honoring Tom Marotta.”
Sponsored by Saks and housed in the museum’s Perelman Building, the show features the work of 17 American and European designers. It will be on display through the summer and will remain in the museum’s permanent costume and textile collection. Kristina Haugland, associate curator of costume and textiles, spent two years on the exhibit along with a team from Saks.
“I was so impressed with the love and esteem people in fashion had for Mr. Marotta and how they depended on his acumen,” she said.
Marotta, whose career spanned 40 years in fashion, worked as a buyer for the Nan Duskin store here, and in 1994 was hired by Saks, where he remained until his death at the age of 73 in 2007.
Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Inc., addressed more than 200 guests, family members, Saks staffers and Philadelphia friends and patrons on the exhibit’s opening night. “This is a very emotional night for an enormously unique human being,” he said. Frasch talked about Marotta’s noncompetitive nature, his warm smile and personality, and his understanding of talent in the industry: “He didn’t think in terms of big brands, but in terms of new brands.”
Frasch also talked about how Marotta mentored designers and retailers. One was Andrew Gloyeske, assistant general manager of merchandising at Saks in Chicago, who flew in for the event and in his first year with Saks went to 17 shows with Marotta when he only had tickets for three. Designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who attended the opening, met Marotta when they were getting started. “We met Tom when he was a buyer for Nan Duskin. He invited us to come down for a trunk show at the store. I didn’t know what a trunk show was,” said Badgley.
The pair donated a gown from resort 2009 inspired by a watercolor painting for the exhibit. “We chose that gown because it is typical of the pieces that Mr. Marotta would have gravitated to,” explained Mischka. “He always picked out the most special pieces on the collection. He taught us how to get to know our customer and really helped us grow our couture business,” he added.
While most buyers are based in New York, Marotta remained in Philadelphia, where he was born and raised. The Bala Cynwyd store was his home base. “For Tom, it was all about the ladies,” said Alan Tobman, vice president, general manager of the Bala Cynwyd store. “He used to say to me, ‘When they leave here, they need to feel like a million.’ He really knew how to dress a woman. When he bought for this store, he knew exactly who it was for and when it came in. He couldn’t wait to call his customers to tell them to come in.”
Designers in the exhibit include Badgley Mischka, Peter Som, Peter Som for Bill Blass, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Nancy Gonzalez, Ralph Rucci, Missoni, Valentino, Zandra Rhodes and Burberry Prorsum.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty