NEW YORK — Allen Questrom, Leonard Riggio, Gordon Segal and the late Sam Walton and the late Stanley Marcus last week became the first inductees into the new Retailing Hall of Fame.
The award ceremony, held Jan. 16 at Cipriani 42nd Street here, drew over 300 people and helped raise scholarships for the Center of Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University. It’s expected to be an annual event to honor retail giants and support education for future retailers. The industry suffers from a talent drain because only a handful of learning institutions support retail studies.
“The problem is that retailers of the future used to be trained by the department stores, but there are fewer department stores and consequently fewer training programs,” said David Szymanski, founder of the Retailing Hall of Fame and director of the Center of Retailing Studies.
During the award ceremony, Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble, described himself as “a brash young kid” who later in life and after buying Barnes & Noble had a vision to transform that traditional store setting into a chain of “cultural piazzas.” He credited his success to his army of 1,000 store managers.
Richard Marcus, accepting on behalf of his late father, recalled some of Stanley Marcus’s advice about entering the retail field. “There are a lot of careers where you can earn a lot more money than retail. But none teaches you more about human nature.”
“It’s pretty overwhelming to be put in the same league as Stanley Marcus,” said Segal, the founder of Crate & Barrel.
Celia Clancy, a Wal-Mart vice president who accepted the award on behalf of the late Walton, said, “Sam would be tickled to know he has a special place at Texas A&M.”
And Allen Questrom, retired chief executive of J.C. Penney Co., said the two greatest things that happened to him during his career was meeting Ken Kolker, retired chairman and ceo of May Merchandising, who became his mentor, and “The second greatest thing was meeting Kelli,” his wife, whom he met on the job at Abraham & Straus, where they both once worked. “When you are not that smart, you’ve got to surround yourself with smart people,” Questrom said. For the turnarounds of J.C. Penney and Federated, “I get all the credit, but there are a lot of people out there who [did] all the work.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast