NEW YORK — Ellen Alpert, director of development for Talbots, the women’s specialty store chain, died Monday at Lenox Hill Hospital here. She was 56.
The cause of death was cancer, according to her husband, Michael Alpert.
Alpert, a native of Goeborg, Sweden, began her fashion career working in the atelier of Pierre Cardin in Paris in the mid-Sixties. She arrived in New York in 1967 and worked as a design associate for Chester Weinberg, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo and Albert Capraro before joining Vogue in 1972 as executive assistant to Diana Vreeland. She later joined Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and worked closely with her on the Costume Institute’s exhibition honoring Balenciaga. She also served as fashion and fabric editor of Harper’s Bazaar, working under the stewardship of Carrie Donovan.
Alpert then moved to the retailing side of the business and joined American Merchandising Corp. in the late Seventies. She later headed the private-label divisions of R.H. Macy & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue before joining Carole Little in the late Eighties. She became fashion director at QVC before assuming her most recent post at Talbots, where she worked until her death.
Besides her husband, Alpert is survived by her children, Daisy and Lukas; a sister, Marianne Persson, and two brothers, Leif Hulten and Bengt Persson.

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