Longtime bridal executive Ovadia “Obie” Cohen died of cancer July 25 at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., said his daughter Esther. He was 84.
This story first appeared in the August 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Born in Jerusalem, Cohen was a member of Irgun, the underground Jewish militia, and fought in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. He worked in the textiles business before relocating to New York in 1949 with his wife, Rebecca.
Convinced that fashion was moving away from custom-made clothes to manufactured apparel, Cohen went to school to learn about design and then took his first job working in production for Tulip Formals. When that company closed, Cohen went to Columbia Formals and then Milady’s Formals, the latter an offshoot created by former Tulip Formals’ staffers. Cohen joined Milady’s Formals as a partial owner.
Cohen’s first retirement in the Eighties lasted just two years. When the Diamond Bridal Group approached him about a potential job, he jumped at the opportunity and stayed with the company until he retired in 1996. His wife, who worked in the company’s sales department, also retired at that time.
“Bridal was the first position he fell into,” Rebecca Cohen said. “He loved the creativity and the challenge of creating new and different styles, while still keeping the trends of the day. It was not part of the normal cycles in the fashion world.”
In addition to his wife of 61 years and his daughter, Cohen is survived by another daughter, Matica Bierstein, and two sons, Albert and Saul.