NEW YORK — The Burt Tansky farewell tour is well under way.
“We had one hell of a ride,” Tansky, who retires Oct. 6 as chairman and chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group, said during a goodbye party at the Mandarin Oriental hotel here. “We moved into areas of luxury and quality that were just waiting to happen.”
The event on Wednesday night was the latest of several planned for Tansky in the U.S. and in Europe.
“It’s rushing up,” Tansky said of his departure, addressing about 300 vendors, designers, retailers, friends and family. “I will remember all of you fondly.”
It was a gathering of the old guard and the new guard. Some of the industry’s most accomplished players, including Marvin Traub, Ira Neimark, Philip Miller, Barry Schwartz and Howard Socol, mixed with those mentored by Tansky. Among them were Karen Katz, his successor; Jim Gold, president of Neiman Marcus Group specialty retail, and Brendan Hoffman, ceo of Lord & Taylor.
“We’re only halfway through the celebrations,” Katz said. “I promise you, my day job is much, much easier than this. His almost 50 years in business is hard to believe.”
Gold kept it light, recalling the early advice Tansky gave him on what to say to a designer after a fashion show that bombs. “He told me to look them straight in the eye, muster all the sincerity you can and say, ‘I’m speechless’ or ‘I just don’t know how you do it’ or, one of my very favorites, ‘You’ve done it again.’” Turning sentimental, Gold said: “Burt has made us better business people, but more importantly, he’s made us better people.”
Neimark, the former Bergdorf Goodman ceo, said, “Burt, if you want to learn to play golf, call me. If you want to write a book, call me. By the way, my book is on sale on the seventh floor of Bergdorf’s.”
David Simon, chairman of Simon Property Group, said, “When he commits, you can bank on it. He also happens to be the best personal shopper. He’s remade my wardrobe.”
Tansky seemed pensive, balancing his characteristic levity with a display of warmth. He encouraged everyone to visit Bergdorf Goodman, nearby on Fifth Avenue.
“It would be inappropriate if you didn’t buy anything,” he said, adding that it was “a privilege to work with you, to build businesses and to take your markdown money.” As for the future, Tansky said: “[My wife] Rita and I hopefully will be spending quality time together. She’ll find I am easy to get along with, but I have agreed to give her one hour a day of free time.”
“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