MR magazine is sad to report the passing of Alan Katzman on August 24, 2019. He was 70 years old.
Katzman’s career began at Barneys in the 1970s working for Fred Pressman, who became his mentor. He traveled to Europe with Pressman and was a great student, with a terrific eye for Italian clothing. After Barneys, Katzman went to Bijan where he did all the buying, merchandising, and operations.
He then opened Harrison James in a Stanford White five-story townhouse on East 54th Street, next to the University Club. This was a state-of-the-art lifestyle men’s salon featuring exquisite clothing from Gianluca Isaia, shoes from Sutor Mantelassi, neckwear from Marinella ties, and Borelli shirtings. In addition, there was a golf shop with putting green that sold fine apparel including Smedley knitwear and Incotex slacks. To top it off, the salon featured a barbershop, cigar bar, and frequent wine tastings. The fifth floor of the townhouse carried exquisite evening wear—both black and white tie. The salon was Katzman’s dream and he more than realized it.
His final adventure was Alan Couture on 57th Street. Here he created wardrobes for titans of every industry: film, music, sports, finance and of course lawyers. His styling and selling skills were truly an art form!
His son Max Katzman, who has worked with his dad for more than 10 years, will continue Alan Couture to honor his father’s legacy. Alan’s wife Karen, who also worked with her husband, will join Max in the business.
Recalls Gianluca Isaia, “I met Alan in 1992, the year I started to explore the U.S. market. At that time he was managing Bijan on Madison Avenue; we spent together only a few minutes and while he was drinking his coffee, he tried on one of my jackets for the first time. I left thinking he didn’t really like the product… but after only 20 minutes he sent his first order! From there started a very good business but more importantly–a real and lasting friendship. I will miss him a lot.”
Menswear exec Joe Barrato was shocked and saddened to learn of Katzman’s passing. “Alan and I go back to when he was working at Barneys. He was a special character and loving rascal: bold, opinionated and passionate about the industry. I was always impressed with his knowledge and taste level, but beyond that was a loving, compassionate person. His store, Harrison James, was as special as he was. I will miss our stimulating hours of conversation referencing the good old days.”
Agrees publicist Patricia Harrington, “Alan was larger than life! He had impeccable taste with refinement and sophistication like no other. He will surely be missed!”
And from luxury menswear rep John McCoy: “Alan marched to his own drum— stubborn, opinionated, and rough. That said, Alan could look at a thousand swatches, cull them down in five minutes, and merchandise a clothing collection to perfection in nothing flat. His ability to cut to the chase and his aesthetic touch was uncanny. I go back with him to his days at Barney’s in the ‘70s and to Bijan in the early ‘90s. In the late ‘90s, Alan opened Harrison & James, arguably the most elegant men’s store ever in New York. A true masterpiece. I was on board with Mr. Katzman’s launch of Alan Couture and his custom concept that rode the wave of conspicuous consumption in the 2000s. Alan was a character who added interest, personality, and flavor to our industry. His faults were his assets. He will be missed. My condolences to his lovely wife Karen, and his sons Max and Harrison.”
Alan Katzman is survived by wife Karen Katzman and his two sons Max and Harrison. His family suggests that those so inclined can make a donation in his memory to Lenox Hill Hospital Cardiac Care Unit.