December 18, 2002: Class Notes
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in and whats out
During frequent trips to Europe, he searches for new talent and takes
in the runway antics of established designers. Along the catwalk, Ruttenstein
always occupies a front-row seat, watching the runway with the rapt attention
of a schoolboy cramming for a final. And later, he presents his seasonal
predictions to Bloomingdales battalion of ready-to-wear and accessories
buyers. Ultimately, Ruttenstein determines what the store will sell.
This has been a year of accolades for Ruttenstein. In June, he received
the Eleanor Lambert Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America,
which acknowledges a unique contribution to fashion. And on July 11, he
was awarded the Legion of Honor in Paris.
Intelligent and savvy, Ruttenstein has managed to survive for decades
in a competitive business. I know what its like to think about
the bottom line, he says. I never buy things we dont
have a chance of selling.
Ruttenstein has divined fashions future from stage productions,
most notably Rent, which he saw 33 times. Recently he set up boutiques
inspired by the new musical Hairspray in several Bloomingdales locations.
He has not snubbed Hollywood, either he was among the first to
exploit the corsetry of Moulin Rouge.
Thank God for Kal, says designer Anna Sui. Hes
somebody who loves fashion and whos genuinely excited. Thats
By Robin Givhan 86
Robin Givhan is the fashion editor of the Washington Post. This story is adapted from one that originally appeared in the Post.