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Maggy London Founder Milton Cahn

Milton Cahn, co-founder of Maggy London International Ltd., a major women's dress firm, died Nov. 16 at his Manhattan home after a long illness. He was 86.

Milton Cahn, co-founder of Maggy London International Ltd., a major women’s dress firm, died Nov. 16 at his Manhattan home after a long illness. He was 86.

This story first appeared in the November 26, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Cahn, who was born in Pittsburgh, headed to Seventh Avenue as a young man and started out pushing clothing racks. He became a cutter and spreader, and eventually rose to be corporate vice president at Jonathan Logan, said Larry Lefkowitz, co-founder of Maggy London.

After 35 years at Jonathan Logan, Cahn had a brief retirement, but returned to the Garment District in the late Seventies to help Herb Rounick with production at Don Sophisticates. There he met Lefkowitz, who came in for a job interview. Cahn and Lefkowitz “just clicked” and decided to start their own business, Lefkowitz said.

The pair launched the better dress label Maggy London in 1979. The company was named after Cahn’s ex-wife Maggy, who was from London, Lefkowitz said. The firm produces dresses under the Maggy London, London Times, Donna Morgan, Ali Ro, Muse, Anthracite, Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique and Shani labels.

Known for his direct manner and self-taught ways, Cahn stayed with Maggy London until about two years ago. He and Lefkowitz built a company with 500 employees around the world. Cahn was willing to share his experiences with staffers and other people in the industry.

“He was very generous with all his knowledge,” Lefkowitz said. “He became a mentor and teacher. There are people all over the industry who owe a great debt to Milton. He learned through experience. He was very direct but he also was a very warm and caring human being.”

He is survived by his wife, Jean Litz, and two sons, Brian Cahn and Stephen Litz.