Jerome Chazen, Unique Accomplice in Liz Claiborne Empire, Dies at 94
Jerome Chazen, an authentic companion within the Liz Claiborne firm, which helped reshape how profession girls gown, died on Sunday. He was 94.
The demise was confirmed by his son, David, who didn’t specify the place Mr. Chazen died.
Mr. Chazen was a driving power behind Liz Claiborne Inc. because it outfitted a era of girls in company life wanting past Brooks Brothers blouses with bows. His fruitful relationships with department shops paid dividends simply as malls started to take over American retail buying. Girls’s Put on Each day referred to as him “one of many architects of the attire large’s phenomenal development within the ’80s.”
Liz Claiborne, based in 1976, grew to grow to be the most important attire firm within the nation, providing working girls an inexpensive different to high-end designers like Calvin Klein and Invoice Blass. It established itself with retailers by producing and delivering total collections of coordinated separates meant to be worn in tandem. And it helped make pants a staple of the workwear wardrobe.
“I can’t let you know we had been sensible sufficient again then to say, ‘American girls are about to affix the work power in document numbers, they usually’re going to want one thing to put on,’ ” Mr. Chazen advised The New York Instances in 2007, however “we noticed a distinct segment.”
The corporate went public in 1981. 5 years later, it grew to become the primary firm led by a lady, Ms. Claiborne, to make the Fortune 500. By the early Nineties, it was posting greater than $2 billion in annual gross sales.
Jerome Chazen, identified to everybody as Jerry, was born on March 21, 1927, to Rose and David Chazen. His mom was a seamstress; his father labored in business heating.
Jerry Chazen served within the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946 and graduated from the College of Wisconsin-Madison, the place he had a minimum of two fateful encounters earlier than leaving with a bachelor’s diploma in economics: It was there that he met Simona Chivian, who would grow to be his spouse of 72 years; and his school roommate, Arthur Ortenberg, would go on to marry Ms. Claiborne and grow to be his longtime enterprise companion within the Claiborne firm.
After school, Mr. Chazen received a grasp’s diploma in enterprise at Columbia College, the place his solely A grade was in advertising and marketing, he recalled in his autobiography, “My Life at Liz Claiborne: How We Broke the Guidelines and Constructed the Largest Trend Firm within the World.” After receiving his M.B.A. in 1950, he took a job as a junior analyst on the Wall Road agency Sutro Brothers earlier than leaving for a job on the attire producer Rhea Midwest.
A number of retail jobs and greater than a decade later, he joined Mr. Ortenberg and Ms. Claiborne of their new retail firm, Liz Claiborne; he formally got here aboard in 1977, a 12 months after its founding. (Mr. Chazen stated in his autobiography that he had initially been unable to affix the corporate outright till he had shored up his funds at his current job.)
“We got here into the enterprise in 1976 when the primary mode of gown was the truth is a gown — that’s what girls wore,” Mr. Chazen stated in an interview with Columbia College. “I felt that girls had been prepared for a change. And in reality they had been.”
With Mr. Ortenberg, Ms. Claiborne invested $50,000 of her personal cash and raised $200,000 extra from mates. Mr. Chazen initially contributed $15,000 and ultimately a further $10,000. Leonard Boxer, a fellow companion, kicked in $25,000.
Within the quartet of authentic companions, every had a task to play: Ms. Claiborne, the designer with a finger on the heartbeat of what girls needed; Mr. Ortenberg, in operations and finance; Mr. Boxer, in manufacturing; and Mr. Chazen, in advertising and marketing and gross sales, fostering robust relations with department shops — the business’s energy gamers in these days.
“He made some extent of figuring out everyone,” stated Allen Questrom, the previous chief monetary officer of the enormous guardian firm Federated Division Shops. “The salesperson is an important factor — you bought to have the ability to promote — and he performed actual key function in it.”
These relations, he added, benefited from Mr. Chazen’s eager understanding of what every retailer demanded, providing it an array of merchandise that he believed would promote finest.
Carol Hochman, who first met Mr. Chazen within the early Nineteen Eighties, when he employed her to be the vp of gross sales for Liz Claiborne equipment, stated, “A Marshall Discipline’s in Chicago wanted a special assortment than Marshall Discipline’s in Urbana, Illinois — and Jerry understood that, and taught his group to plan every retailer individually, to maximise the product that was entering into.”
Mr. Chazen attributed a lot of the corporate’s monetary success to its determination to maneuver its manufacturing amenities to Asia.
“It was apparent that we couldn’t discover ample manufacturing facility area on this nation to make all the clothes we wanted on the value and high quality degree that we had established our firm to be,” he stated within the Columbia interview. “I urged to the corporate that we must always contemplate having items made abroad. And I believed Liz would have a coronary heart assault.”
Mr. Chazen retired from Liz Claiborne in 1996. He had been the final surviving authentic companion. Ms. Claiborne died in 2007 at 78, Mr. Boxer in 2009 at 86, and Mr. Ortenberg in 2014 at 87.
The relations amongst them had been strained at occasions, Mr. Chazen stated in his ebook.
“Artwork at all times had problem giving me credit score for the important thing function I performed within the firm,” he wrote. “I needed to reside with that actuality then and for a few years after, regardless of how my concepts and my administration guided the corporate to success. I assume that I used to be having a lot enjoyable, it actually didn’t matter. However, to be trustworthy, generally it did get to me.”
Mr. Chazen was an lively philanthropist, donating giant sums to, amongst different organizations, the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan, the College of Wisconsin and Columbia College, the place, with a pledge of $10 million in 2016, he helped fund what’s now the Chazen Institute of Worldwide Enterprise.
Along with his son, David, he’s survived by his spouse, his daughters Kathy Chazen and Louise Chazen Banon, seven grandchildren and a great-grandson.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/09/enterprise/jerome-chazen-dead.html Jerome Chazen, Unique Accomplice in Liz Claiborne Empire, Dies at 94