Eileen West, best known for her sleepwear and timeless designs, died Tuesday at the age of 68.
Martin Tandler, a close friend for 40 years and a supplier to West when he was chief executive officer of the former Tandler Textiles, said West had been hospitalized in San Francisco, where she lived and worked, with a lung infection.
“She was without a doubt, the most gracious, optimistic, stylish person I ever met. I never heard her complain about anything — ever.”
“I’ve been so touched to hear how she impacted so many lives,” said West’s daughter Julia Alexandra Westerbeke, who is creative director of the company. “She was deeply loved by so many people and everyone has talked about her truly incredible kindness and bright, unsinkable spirit.”
West was also known for luxurious and comfortable fabrics, and in 2005 received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Intimate Apparel Industry’s annual Femmy Gala.
West and her business partner, Laney Thornton, launched their first sleepwear collection, Queen Anne’s Lace, 28 years ago in San Francisco. She divided her time between San Francisco and Manhattan, designing the Eileen West and the Queen Anne’s Lace sleepwear collections, produced and marketed under license by New York sleepwear manufacturer Komar.
West also designed bedding, dresses and sportswear collections, and drew much of her inspiration from the California coastline, Sonoma, and the San Francisco Bay. Her products have been selling at such stores as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor.
A memorial service will be announced.
Aside from her daughter, West is survived by her husband, David Richard Westerbeke; siblings James Reis, Edward Reis, Frank Reis, Dennis Reis and Jeanette Long, and her parents Mary and Frank Reis.