NEW YORK — Kalman Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale’s senior vice president of fashion direction, is critically ill and is hospitalized at The Mount Sinai Medical Center here, some of his close associates said Wednesday afternoon.

Ruttenstein was said to be suffering from kidney failure and related complications. At press time, his precise condition could not be learned.

In 1997, Ruttenstein suffered a severe stroke. Despite his reduced mobility, he soon was back on the job and traveling to Europe to take his front-row seat at the Paris and Milan collections as well as at the designer shows in New York.

He joined Bloomingdale’s in 1977, and is considered one of the industry’s most influential fashion authorities. Ruttenstein has been a pivotal player in building Bloomingdale’s reputation as one of the country’s leading contemporary retailers.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.