by Karen Alberg Grossman

All of us in menswear are shocked and saddened to learn of Lee Leonard’s passing on Saturday, December 31 at his home in Manhattan. Lee was very much loved by so many in the industry, a friend to both retailers and suppliers. He was a key part of the DLS triumvirate that helped build so many businesses and launch so many careers. He had just turned 74 and had been dealing with heart-related issues.
Those who knew him best describe Lee as an amazingly sweet and multi-talented man: an actor, photographer, dancer, teacher, and tour guide, outspoken and energetic on the outside, kind and caring within. Those who had the good fortune to travel with him to Italy often returned with some outrageous tales, for this was a guy who knew how to have fun!

Miami retailer Jose Bolado got to know Lee from a trip to Naples. “He was a true Renaissance man: artistic and fun-loving, he loved to dance, loved people, loved life. I missed him when he departed to South Korea and was so happy when he returned. Will miss you always Lee; rest in peace.”
Says Gary Lowy, “Lee was always in the market, visiting, observing, offering advice, and sharing his take on evolving fashion. Everyone loved his posts about travel, food, fashion, and people. He will be missed.”
From Pennsylvania merchant Brian Cohen, “It’s been a pleasure and an honor to get to know Lee over the past two decades. One of my favorite things about him was the way he’d start off our DLS meetings, asking, ‘Can I have a loud ‘GOOD MORNING?’ And if he wasn’t satisfied with the group’s response, he’d ask again: ‘Can I have a loud ‘GOOD MORNING?’ He was always enthusiastic, something I will really miss.”
Florida retailer Craig DeLongy agrees. “Lee was soft-spoken except when handed the mic at DLS meetings, then he was like a carnival barker. Over the years, I got to enjoy Lee at many trade shows. When we were at Pitti in Florence, I named him Leonardo; when we were in Charlotte, I called him Billy Lee. Always the first to jump on the dance floor to cut a rug, God help the female sales rep who happened to be standing close by…”
David Chaney describes Lee as “always the gentleman. Actually, he was a WILD MAN, and much fun to be around.” “The market will be much quieter without his laughter…” Marc and Vinny of Marc N Vinny predict.
Lee’s DLS partners Fred and Virginia are planning a ‘celebration of life’ memorial service in NYC after the January/February menswear shows; anyone with ideas please advise. To read more tributes to our industry friend Lee Leonard, see MR’s February print issue.


  1. So sorry to hear such terrible news. Lee was a great man a great merchant and Freind to all He will be missed by all
    May he rest in peace

  2. Such a great person so much fun. He will be missed by all. A great person a delight to work with at trade shows. He will be missed.

  3. Oh no. Lee was one of my first connections in menswear. He was kind, helpful, and an active advocate from day 1. I am so grateful to him. This is a sad, sad, occasion. Rest in Peace, Lee.

    1. So terrible to learn about the passing of…”Double L” as I called him
      He was so much an integral part of DLS and our industry ,

      1. A devastating loss, personally and to the industry. Not only was Lee a giant in the industry due to his talent and personality, but Lee was an even better man. I am heartbroken as I know many others are as well, the fact that Lee had so many close friends speaks volumes as to the kind of person he was. Fred and Virginia and to all who were close to him, you’re all in my heart and prayers. May his memory be a blessing.
        RIP my friend.

  4. Lee had positive energy and was a pleasure to work with. You will be missed!
    May you RIP, my friend!

    1. This is so shocking to learn and so very sad. We got together with Lee for drinks right before the holidays to catch up on the latest in our lives and the business. He was happy and full of life telling me stories about his travels and the dating adventures. A giant in our industry and a good friend. Lee, you will be deeply missed🥲.

    1. Saddened to hear of Lee’s passing . Was a great person . Knew his business thoroughly and was great to the vendors and retailers . Honest and straight forward . Loved meeting him , always had a smile and a hearty laugh !!

  5. Love the guy. Always in good humor, yet serious about his work. Respectful to everyone. I will remember him well as a role model that stood up in life and got counted.

    1. Lee was my cousin we grew up together and spent many hours playing games as kids. He was alway the caretaker of his family, kind thoughtful and loving. He will be missed by us all.

  6. I always looked forward to seeing Lee and his smiling face at the trade shows. There was an inner goodness that radiated from him. I and the rest of the industry will miss him.

  7. Lee was just a pleasure to be around
    One could see he had a large soul.
    Condolences to DLS
    Fred and Virginia,

  8. LEE WAS A VISION OF THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN. the positive energy radiated the room.I worked with Lee for decades and he was always there for me personally and professionally.Please RIP my friend.Loved this man…

  9. So saddened to learn of Lee’s passing. I only knew him for a brief time, but he made you feel like he was an old friend and always made time for me. My condolences to Fred and Virginia.

  10. We are shocked at hearing about the passing of Lee . His presence in a room was unmistakable and his talent a gift. He was such a kind and generous gentleman

    Fred and Virginia we are so sorry for the loss of your good friend and business partner.. May God ease your sorrows.

  11. Such a good guy…..thinking of you Fred and Virginia…
    the industry could use 15 more Lee Leonards.

  12. I am shocked and saddened in hearing about the loss of one of the nicest friends that I had in the business. I’ll surely miss that smile 😊. Rest in eternal peace Lee 😇. See you down the line. 😔☮️💟

  13. I am shocked and saddened in hearing about the loss of one of the nicest friends that I had in the business that was his passion. I’ll surely miss that smile. Rest in eternal peace Lee. See you down the line.

  14. So sorry to hear of Lee’s passing. He was truly a sweet man and will be dearly missed

  15. I am so sad to hear of Lee’s passing. He was a wonderful person. His enthusiasm and kindness made a difference in our world and he will be sadly missed. Multi talented and lived life fully. Rest in peace brother and watch over us from above.

  16. My heart is broken over this loss of a great long time friend in Lee… Thanks Lee for always being a smile we all saw coming from a distance that would light up our booths at the trade shows… 🍷🍷 Saluti to your spirit Lee , and I sure right now you have already got God’s new outfit trending in the Heavens.. 🙏💔🤗😘. You may be gone Lee, but you’ll never be forgotten my Brother… 🙏😎

  17. I’m so sorry to hear this sad news! Lee was a bright shining star who lit up the room with his enthusiasm, wit and charm! He will be missed. My condolences to his family!

  18. So sad to hear of Lee’ passing. Lee was always kind and helpful to me in my personal and professional life. I will never forget when I was attending the Pitti Imagine show and bumped into Lee & Fred. They found out I was there alone and invited me to have dinner with them and some great retailers they were hosting. It was a majical night & a memory I will forever cherish!
    Fred and Virginia, I am so sorry for the loss of your great friend and partner. My prayers are with you and Lee’s Family. R.I.P. Lee!

  19. I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Lee.
    I owe so much to Lee in the success of my business. He was such a great teacher and innovator. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him. Rest in peace my good friend knowing that you will be missed by all that knew you.

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