Fashion and accessories industry veteran Liz Conover died Aug. 29 in New York City at age 71. The cause of death was lung cancer.

Conover, a graduate of San Jose University, had a multifaceted career that spanned multiple decades. She began her career in the Sixties on the sales floors of California retailers including Bullocks, The Emporium and I. Magnin, where she became senior manager of contemporary sportswear. While working there, she met Esprit founder Susie Tompkins, who asked Conover to help launch and oversee the brand’s handbag and accessories division.

In a statement, Susie Tompkins Buell said, “Liz was an amazing person to work with and was always in the forefront of trends.”

Conover moved to New York City in 1986 to work with Salvatore Ferragamo in its handbag and accessories division, later joining Etienne Aigner in the early Nineties to head up that brand’s handbag division. Shortly afterward, she was named chief executive officer of the Paloma Picasso handbags and accessories business globally. She went on to join Tommy Hilfiger and help the designer launch that brand’s handbag division.

After spending five years as a consultant, Conover joined Takashimaya’s New York venture in 2006 as executive director of U.S. operations.

Conover was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2014. She is survived by her husband, Udi Saly, with whom she designed and built 15 villas in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and four siblings.

According to her family, “Her last words written on an iPad while unable to speak at the hospital were ‘Ocean’ and ‘Gift.’” As such, Conover’s ashes will be scattered over the Caribbean Sea, and, per her wishes, gifts will be given to staff members of her resort villa.

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