New York—Elaine Gold, the veteran fashion accessories entrepreneur, innovator and supporter to new young talent, died Sunday after a brief illness.
Known for her short silver hair, fiery sense of humor and deep knowledge of the industry, Elaine had a dynamic career, influencing and working with designers and brands including Vera, Totes/XIIX Karat, Collection XIIX, Ellen Tracy, Jones New York, to name a few, said the Accessories Council in a statement today. Gold was a longtime member of its board of directors.
“She was devoted to the accessories industry. One of the longest serving members of the Accessories Council, Elaine seldom missed a meeting. If she committed to something, she did it with zeal and commitment,” said Karen Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council.
Gold’s career began at Vera Scarves, after a chance meeting, when she auditioned to be a model in the showroom, She often said she took a job in the accessory industry, as the bus from Jackson Heights where she lived, went straight to Fifth Avenue. She worked directly with Vera as her assistant and studio business manager. During her time there, the company developed their table top prints and scarf business. She also worked with budding designer Perry Ellis.
After 19 years at Vera, she joined Robinson & Golluber, where she was an early pioneer of brand marketing in the scarf industry. She then joined Totes to run XIIX Karats working with legends as Albert Nipon, Ellen Tracy and Kenzo. In 1983 Elaine bought the company and changed the name to Collection XIIX.
“I need to keep XIIX in the name as it’s already on the door and the letters are too expensive to remove!” she cracked in her typical gusto. She built Collection XIIX into a powerhouse company taking on brand licenses as Anne Klein and Jones New York to name a few. In addition she launched her namesake Elaine Gold Collection, which was in stores until 1997.
In 1991, Gold joined forces with Drew Pizzo, the current owner of Collection XIIX and then became partners with him when he bought half the company in 1992.
“Elaine was a visionary and a supporter of entrepreneurial women across all industries. An icon in the accessory industry, she was known for her impeccable and strong sense of style, always perfectly put together and always a well matching scarf to accessorize her signature tailored look. She was a mentor and friend o many and a very dear friend and partner to me. She will be fondly remembered,” said Drew Pizzo, CEO at Collection XIIX.
Gold went on to found a new company, Elaine Gold Enterprises, which landed the US Postal service as it’s first license. She worked with clients as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vera Bradley. Elaine was a consummate professional who was known as a “go to” lady for all things scarves.
A strong advocate with an undying passion for her industry, Gold was known for her strong commitment to giving back. In addition to being a charter member of the Accessories Council, she served on a number of boards. She was a long time board member of Shankar College in Israel and often hosted students in her office. She served on the Advisory Board of LIM College. She was honored by FABB, for her work in the fashion accessory industry and honored with the Accessories Council Hall of Fame award in 2007.
“I remember seeing her once hosting a group of college students who were studying fashion merchandising. When Elaine spoke to them, they were mesmerized,” Giberson added, noting that Gold continued to work right up to her death.
She made charity a priority, serving on the board of Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl. She was honored by the group in 2012 and made regular trips to visit the children in the school outside of Tel Aviv. She was honored by The Foundation Fighting Blindness in 2013. Elaine was a loyal member of Chabad of Midtown for 18 years.
An industry memorial service and celebration of Elaine’s life and industry contributions will be announced in near future.