NEW YORK — Accessories designers, retailers, family and friends gathered at Manhattan's Laboratory Institute of Merchandising last Monday to remember Sheila Block, former president of the Accessories Council, an industry organization based here.
In a eulogy, Block's daughter, Ellen Frommer, described her mother as "no shrinking violet. She was always dressed and always accessorized."
Block died of leukemia in July.
Among the mourners was Ed Jankowski, chief operating officer of Solstice and an Accessories Council board member; Mary Ann Restivo, president of the eponymous accessories company; Elaine Gold, president of Elaine Gold enterprises, an accessories licensing company; Mary Belle, president of licensing for Anne Klein, and Lavelle Olexa, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at Lord & Taylor.
"Since Sheila's passing we often have moments and say, 'What would Sheila do?'" Jankowski said. "In fact we were thinking of making bumper stickers saying 'WWSD?'"
This year, the Accessories Council founded The Sheila Block Accessories Council for Leukemia Research in honor of Block.
A native New Yorker, Block had a long career in fashion and through her work with the Accessories Council, which she founded in 1995, became an influential player in the industry. She brought much awareness to the $30 billion category by coordinating events such as the ACE Accessories Council Excellence awards, which she elevated in glamour by having celebrities like Debra Messing, Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields attend.
Restivo recalled when Block called her, desperate for the perfect shawl for a black-tie event.
"She borrowed a beautiful green shawl, and she was fantastic in it," Restivo said.
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