Mickey Rosmarin always loved a party. And he would have given a thumbs up to the gathering at Tootsies Monday night when a flock of designers, fashionistas and sophisticates congregated to say goodbye to the beloved retailer. He died Friday of an apparent heart attack at age 63.
More than 250 fans, almost all of whom felt a personal connection to Rosmarin, gathered in sometimes tearful, sometimes humorous remembrance of the Tootsies founder. Champagne, wine and vodka flowed as friends, all part of what felt like one giant Mickey Rosmarin family, expressed their heartbreak, their disbelief and their shock at his untimely departure.
Designers Lela Rose and Ranjana Khan (wife of Naeem Khan) flew in from New York. "I really would not have missed it," Rose explained. "He bought our second or third collection and put it in every store . . . Mickey was such a visionary."
Designers Emily Armenta, Elaine Turner and Mariquita Masterson were among the Houstonians in the mix. A host of designers including Diane Von Furstenberg, Andrew Gn, David Yurman and Claudia Labao sent written condolences/accolades shared with the gathering by Holly Moore, long-time Rosmarin friend and editor-in-chief at PaperCity.
Moore, along with Rosmarin's closest friends Becca Cason Thrash and Meg Goodman, spoke on their relationship with the man who fiercely loved all of his friends. Also commenting was Tootsies COO Norman Lewis, who relieved many Tootsies patrons with his remarks that clearly indicated a future for the store.
"We understand that our job as employees is to find that framework to carry out Mickey's dream and to carry those plans on," he said. "His dreams have left us with that mission and we are going to carry on his plans as we go forward."
Topping off the program was a moving acapella rendition of "I Will Always Love You," sung by the talented Yvonne Washington, another close Rosmarin friend.
Flowers filled the storefront lobby, surrounding two portraits of Rosmarin, and friends covered one wall in love notes written on Post-Its. Caswell & Co. provided the substantial buffet and bar offerings.
Paying tribute to the man who gave Tootsies life were Isabel David, Gregory Fourticq, Phoebe Tudor, Valerie Biggs, Page Parkes, Jeff Shell, Vivian Wise, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Armando Palacios, Roz Pactor, Hannah and Cal McNair, Joanna and Brad Marks, Michelle Watson, Neal Hamil, Sally Edmundson, Lonnie Schiller, Mimi Del Grande, Margaret Alkek Williams, Amir Taghi, Maryam Khreibani, George Murray, Laura Max and Ben Rose, Janet Gurwitch, and Susanne Dawley Byram.
See Yvonne Washington's touching musical tribute to Mickey Rosmarin: