Kalman Ruttenstein, long a staple of Bloomingdale’s fashion sense, died of complications from cancer on Thursday at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Ruttenstein was 69 years old and leaves behind a legacy at Bloomingdales.
Ruttenstein, known as Kal, was the fashion director at Bloomingdales for almost 30 years. He helped build the careers of designers like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, Zac Posen, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Marc Jacobs.
He worked directly with designers to create exclusive collections for Bloomingdale’s, showcasing them in the designer-making Bloomingdale’s windows. His arrival at fashion shows was akin to royalty arriving at the court.
Speaking with Women’s Wear Daily Marvin Traub former chairman and ceo of Bloomingdale’s said of Ruttenstein, “Traveling in Europe with him was great, I remember when we were in Milan once, he told me, ‘Marvin, I know these Italian designers. They don’t even have a showroom so you have to come up to their apartment.’ That was Dolce & Gabbana. Kal was great at identifying young talent.”
The funeral service will be private. Bloomingdale’s will be planning a memorial in January.