NEW YORK — Burt Wayne, an interior decorator and former president of Anne Klein Design Studio, died of complications from cancer Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital here. He was 76.
Wayne, who headed the licensing arm of Anne Klein & Co. for 17 years until leaving in 1994, was credited by many for the brand's significant growth from the mid-Seventies to the early Nineties.
Described as a warm, flamboyant personality with impeccable taste, Wayne started his career as a stock boy at Capezio shoes, then formed his own interior design company, Burt Wayne Inc., which became Wayne & Doktor Ltd. when he teamed up with John Doktor, his lifelong friend. Wayne and Doktor had also worked together at Anne Klein Design Studio, where Doktor was creative director.
Donna Karan recalled meeting Wayne through Anne Klein.
"The empire of Anne Klein was built through Burt Wayne," she said. "When Anne passed away, Burt became my mentor, my everything. He introduced me to the world of furniture, living and family."
Karan described Wayne as a "larger-than-life kind of guy," recalling him strutting around New York in long fur coats. She said Wayne gave her entry to interior design and prepared her for the sophisticated world of New York fashion and lifestyle.
"Burt and John decorated my apartment, introduced me to leopard chairs and every other flamboyance," Karan said. "He was polished. He had a dry, dry sense of humor which was 100 percent based on family. He had the flamboyance of the interior design community and brought it into fashion."
Louis Dell'Olio, who worked alongside Karan at Anne Klein, recalled Wayne's start at the company.
"Burt was a very successful decorator and that's how he actually met Anne Klein," Dell'Olio said. "He helped her decorate her apartment on 57th Street."
Wayne continued decorating interiors while working at Anne Klein, Dell'Olio said. After leaving the brand in 1994, he focused exclusively on his interior design business with Doktor.
"Burt was an extremely talented man, and he had more taste in his little pinkie than most people have in their lifetime," Dell'Olio said.Wayne is survived by his sister, Roslyn Zimmerman.
The family has established the Burt Wayne Scholarship Fund, which will benefit students in the interior design field. Donations can be sent to the fund at 135 Central Park West, New York, N.Y. 10023.
“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