A memorial service will be held in New York next Thursday for Robert N. Franceschini, a longtime men’s wear executive, who died in Bangkok Tuesday of kidney and heart failure. He was 75.
Franceschini will be cremated and the ashes will remain in Bangkok, where he had been living, according to a family spokeswoman.
Born in New York, Franceschini started his career at Saks Fifth Avenue, where he worked for nearly 20 years. As vice president of fashion merchandising in the men’s department, he introduced and launched renowned American and European designer collections including Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, among others.
He then went on to hold a variety of executive positions at GFT USA Corp., including senior vice president of marketing and international sales for Joseph Abboud. “Bob was a very important player at Saks and came to GFT during the height of its power,” designer Joseph Abboud said Thursday. “He was a very sophisticated, savvy guy, by no means a garmento.” During his time with the label, which Abboud said was around 12 years, he developed more than 39 licenses, including one in Japan.
“There are guys who don’t have celebrity status, they fly under the radar, but they’re integral to the growth of brands,” Abboud said. “Bob was one of those guys.”
Maria Vicari, president of global licensing for Nautica Apparel Inc., who worked with Franceschini at GFT, said: “Bob was an early mentor to me and friend for over 35 years. He was a talented icon of the men’s wear industry and key figure in introducing international designer fashion to men in America at Saks Fifth Avenue. Bob lived life well and was a true Renaissance man. We will miss him.”
After leaving GFT, Franceschini started consulting for the Central Marketing Group in 2000, a job that brought him to Thailand several times. When he retired in 2005, he relocated there.
Franceschini is survived by his siblings, Msgr. Philip Franceschini, Giulio Franceschini, Marietta Franceschini Tacopina and Loretta Franceschini Magrino.
The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. at the Holy Rosary Church in South Beach, Staten Island, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to The National Kidney Foundation.