Just days after after it became known that the eminent New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn would be leaving the Grey Lady to spend more time with her ailing partner, Art Ortenberg, WWD is reporting that the 87-year-old co-founder of Liz Claiborne has passed away. As vice chairman, Ortenberg helped steer the company — which bore the name of the designer, co-founder, and his wife — on a path to join the Fortune 500 group of blue-chip American businesses within ten years of launch. A cause of death has not been given.
Later in life, after taking Liz Claiborne public in 1981 and acquiring one of the largest fortunes in the fashion sphere, Ortenberg put a sizeable portion of it toward his passion, the prevention of animal extinction. Begun with his wife — who passed in 2007 — on the couple’s first trip to Africa in 1987, the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation has been in operation for 27 years, and continues Ortenberg’s work.