By  on June 7, 2007

NEW YORK — Funeral services for Evan-Picone founder Charles Evans will be at noon today at Temple Emanu-El here.

Evans, 81, died of complications from pneumonia Saturday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said his nephew, Michael Shure Jr.

"Charles was a very exciting, dynamic individual with lots of contactsand lots of charisma," said former Evan-Picone president Irving Spitalnick. "He was an extremely likeable guy who wasn't afraid to take a chance."

A native New Yorker, Evans went into the Army after graduating from Power Memorial High School in Manhattan. Upon returning to civilian life in 1946, Evans relocated to Los Angeles to open a triple-decker hamburger stand, but returned to Manhattan to work as a salesman in his aunt's clothing store. Convinced that fly-front zippers could be used on women's skirts, Evans turned to his father's tailor, Joseph Picone, to make a sample. The pair cemented their partnership by forming the women's sportswear label Evan-Picone in 1949.

Evans' given surname was Shapera, but like his brother, Robert, who was a child actor before becoming the head of Paramount studios and the producer of movies such as "Chinatown" and "Urban Cowboy," he changed his surname for professional purposes, Shure said.

In the Fifties, the brothers pitched in at Evan-Picone, with Charles handling sales and Robert in charge of the women's pants division named Diva. Their mother ran the showroom, their aunt was a saleswoman and their father left his Harlem dental practice to handle the blouse division, said Evans' sister, Alice Shure.

As Charles Evans was getting Evan-Picone off the ground, being "a flamboyant playboy always with a cigarette, a vodka and in a tie" at El Morocco, the Stork Club and Doubles served to his advantage, his nephew said. He got friends such as Eileen and Jerry Ford, owners of the Ford modeling agency, to see the collection. Evans and his brother staged packed fashion shows at The Plaza without even using a publicist, their sister said.

After Evans and Picone sold Evan-Picone to Revlon in 1962, the then-36-year-old Evans remained involved with the business for a few years before charting another course. He was founder of the commercial real estate firm Evans Partnership with his late brother-in-law, Michael Shure Sr. Evans also produced films, including "Tootsie." The Evan-Picone brand went through several more owners, and since 1993, has been owned by the Jones Apparel Group.Evans also was committed to personal causes, serving as national director of the Alzheimer's Association. His father suffered from the disease. He also founded the Crusade for Fire Detection after his former wife, Frances, and their daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth, died in a fire in 1975. His son, Charles Jr., survived. Evans publicized the need for smoke detectors, donated money to the effort and campaigned for laws to make detectors mandatory, his nephew said.

In addition to his sister, brother and son, Evans is survived by his wife, Bonnie Pfeifer, a former print and runway model.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus