NEW YORK — Vivienne Darrow, an executive recruiter for the fashion and apparel industry, died at her home here on May 25. She was 81.The cause of death was chronic lung disease, according to her family.

This story first appeared in the June 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In the Fifties, Darrow worked for several companies, including Kay Windsor and Margo Walters, where she became the highest-grossing sales manager. She left to raise a family and then rejoined the workforce as an apprentice recruiter in 1976. Three years later, Darrow opened Vivienne Darrow Associates and established herself as a top fashion recruiter at a time when it was rare for women to own their own businesses.

Her corporate clients included Leslie Fay Cos., Murjani International, Gloria Vanderbilt, Calvin Klein, Rafaella and Jones Apparel Group. The business operated until 2006, when Darrow retired.

“She placed hundreds, if not thousands, of people,” said her son, Jonathan. “People [in the industry] used to call her ‘mom.’ She really helped people’s careers. Once someone was in her orbit, she’d invest herself in their career, and she became a mentor to them throughout their career. She placed everyone from ceo’s to designers to marketing executives and knitwear people.”

Darrow, whose interests ranged from antiques and classic movies to piano and world travel, had homes in New York and Sherman, Conn.

She is survived by her husband, Stanley; three sons, Jonathan, David and Andrew; two sisters, Helen Levin and Sarah Bergman, and six grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family said donations may be made to HHT (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia) Foundation International, P.O. box 329, Monkton, MD 21111.

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