SPORTSWEAR’S MICHAEL BALLAS SUCCUMBS AT 32
DALLAS — Michael Ballas, a young sportswear and social occasion designer who was coming back from a troubled past, died Friday of a brain aneurysm at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York. He was 32.
Ballas, who sold his clean-yet-fun styles to 24 high-end stores, including Neiman Marcus, was stricken in his New York hotel room on Thursday, as reported. He had been preparing for a major trunk show at Neiman Marcus’s NorthPark Center store early next month.
He moved to New York in December and had big plans for his fledgling company, projecting $2 million in sales for his second full year of business.
Ballas produced a high-end sportswear line in Dallas from 1986 to 1988, but that company closed after a series of personal tragedies struck the designer, including his own alcohol and drug abuse and the self-inflicted death of his mother in 1989.
After rehabilitation at the Betty Ford Center, Ballas returned to fashion, did custom work for private clients and worked in sales at Barneys New York here.
In 1994, after a chance meeting with Shelle Bagot, owner of The Gazebo here, he showed her some of his designs. She signed Ballas to produce an exclusive collection, which quickly sold out.
Surviving are his father, Albert; his stepmother, Kay; a grandmother, Rose; a brother, Cary, and two sisters, Layla Rivers and Chelsia Schulman.
A private service was conducted in New York on Sunday.
NEW YORK — Roderick Matheson, 75, a retired textile broker here, died Friday at the Wavenly Care Center in New Canaan, Conn.
The cause of death was a variant of Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife, Margaret.
Matheson retired in 1991 as a partner at W.B. Textile Mills Inc., based here. Prior to that, he worked at Woodward Baldwin & Co., also here, as a sales associate.
Also surviving are two sons, Roderick and Charles; two sisters, Phyllis Matheson and Gladys Vickrey; two brothers, Donald and Lloyd, and three grandchildren.
A memorial will be held in New Canaan at a date to be selected.