NEW YORK — Jon Levy, a Seventh Avenue veteran in the dress business, died Thursday at Southampton Hospital in Southampton, N.Y. He was 63.
The cause of death was pancreatic and liver cancer, said Nancy Hardy, a former wife who had worked with Levy at the Gillian Group, a dress company he headed.
Levy’s career started at the now defunct dress firm Johnny Herbert, where he worked as a salesman with Howard Bloom, chairman of Chetta B. He then went to Puritan Fashions before teaming up with Bloom in the early Seventies.
The pair joined with Kay Unger to start the Gillian Group, a dress manufacturer that began with St. Gillian by Kay Unger and later added AJ Bari, Gillian by Kay Unger and Bichon by Cynthia Howie. In its prime during the late Eighties the Gillian Group was a $135 million dress operation, Unger said. Levy was president and chief executive officer for 24 years, until the company disbanded at the end of 1994 because of financial difficulties.
A few months later, Levy opened Hannah Hardy, another daytime dress label, and ran that business for a few years. He worked on Wall Street as a retail analyst at Benchmark until his death.
Levy was born in Hewlett, N.Y., and spent summers as a young man as a lifeguard at Atlantic Beach on Long Island. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and later kept a sign in his office invoking his alma mater that read, “If God is not a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue?”
In the early Sixties, Levy served for three years as a medic in the Army Reserve, Hardy said.
Levy is survived by three daughters, Jennifer Levy, Amanda Laserson and Hannah Levy, and a sister, Diane Roth.
— Rosemary Feitelberg