Holly Adam, Former Men’s Fashion Director of Bloomingdale’s, Dies at 65

Updated April 2 at 1:12 p.m.

Elizabeth Hollister “Holly” Adam, former men’s and children’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, has died at her home in Connecticut after a long illness. Adam, who was 65, passed away from acute liver disease, according to her brother the Rev. Dr. A.K.M. Adam, an associate priest in the Church of England in Abingdon, Oxford, and a theology professor at Oriel College at Oxford University in England.

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Holly Adam was born in Pittsburgh to Donald G. Adam, an English professor at Chatham College, and Nancy Tuttle Adam, a poet and professional photographer from Nantucket, Mass.

Holly Adam first exhibited her love of fashion in high school where she joined a local Pittsburgh retailer and joined its merchants on buying trips to New York City. She studied English at Hobart-William Smith College and after graduation, relocated to New York to take a job as an assistant fashion editor of Vogue Magazine.

After two years, she joined Bloomingdale’s, where she served as men’s and children’s fashion director for a decade, according to her LinkedIn page.

After leaving Bloomingdale’s, she opened a boutique in Greenwich, Conn., named Cashmere Inc., which she operated for more than 12 years.

After that closed in 2011, she created A Fashionable Mind, a business that sourced and merchandised product for different companies in a variety of categories, including cashmere. At the same time, she operated HomeWorks, a residential real estate project management firm.

Adam was also the creator of the MensWearNetwork, which organized get-togethers for people who had, or continue to, work in the menswear industry.

Hearing of her passing, Kevin Harter, vice president of integrated marketing and fashion the fashion office at Bloomingdale’s, said, “Early in my career, I served as a menswear buyer at Bloomingdale’s, when Holly held the position of fashion director. I was consistently inspired by her passion and expertise, and I greatly admired her meticulous attention to detail. When I eventually assumed her role years later, I found myself faced with the challenging task of living up to her impressive legacy. May she rest in peace.”

Among those paying tribute to Adam on her Facebook page was Jeffrey Banks who said she was “savvy, smart, with a rapier wit…and loyal as the day is long.” Fashion editor Kimberly Cihlar wrote that “heaven seems much more stylish,” adding that the “menswear world will miss the wit, glamour, savviness and friendship of Holly Adam, [who was] the glue of the MensWearNetwork, an organization born to keep us reunited and connected in a somewhat organized fashion.”

“I worked closely with Holly when Bruce Morrison and I were buying and merchandising women’s coats at Bloomingdale’s. She was instrumental with us in launching some of the most innovative and luxurious coat designs and fabrications to be found in Europe and brought to Bloomie’s in the late ’80s,” said David Fisher, the former executive vice president and general merchandise manger of menswear at Bloomingdale’s.

“Holly was the quintessential ‘New England Yankee,’ with a voice reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn and a taste level that was both trendy and luxurious, and understood better than most the balance needed between fashion and commercial appeal. She’ll be missed,” he continued.

In addition to her brother, Adam is survived by a niece, Philippa Adam; her nephews, Nathanial Adam and Josiah Adam; Josiah’s wife Laura and their children, Thomas and Lydia. She is also survived by an uncle, Richard Adam of Albuquerque, N.M., and an aunt, Harriet Tuttle Noyes of Arlington, Mass.

According to her brother, plans for a memoriaI are “unsettled at this point.”

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