L. ALDRICH, DRESS MANUFACTURER
Byline: Mort Sheinman
NEW YORK — Larry Aldrich, a former dress manufacturer who became a leading supporter of emerging artists and who founded one of the country’s most prestigious museums of contemporary art, died Friday at New York Hospital. He was 95.
Aldrich, whose fashion house produced better dresses and suits noted for their elegance, was also president of the New York Couture Group, the forerunner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He retired from the industry — for the second time — in 1964 and founded the Larry Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. Three years later, the museum, which was dedicated to championing the work of new artists, changed its name to the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art.
Even as Aldrich was establishing a reputation for sophisticated, elegant daywear and eveningwear on Seventh Avenue, he was amassing an impressive collection of modern art that would become the basis of his museum. He became a pivotal patron of such young artists as Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers.
A native New Yorker, he first went into the fashion business in the 1930s, according to his daughter, Georganne Aldrich Heller. At one point, she said, he abandoned Seventh Avenue for about 15 years: “He went West, rode horses, then produced theatrical shows in the Bahamas.”
When he returned to the fashion business, he opened a showroom in 530 Seventh Avenue and became friendly with such contemporaries as Pauline Trigere, Abe Schrader, Adele Simpson and Malcolm Starr.
Also surviving are his wife Wynn; two other daughters, Susan Huberth and Kate Strassman; three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be conducted at the museum at a date yet to be determined.