Fred Hayman saved fashion reps (and marriages)
Long ago before there were armies of well-paid celebrity stylists dressing actresses for every awards show, Oscar nominees and presenters relied on Beverly Hills retailer Fred Hayman for their glamorous gowns. After decades of keeping gorgeous actresses off the Worst Dressed and on the Best Dressed lists, Hayman became the official fashion consultant for the Academy Awards in 1990, operating a unique styling service for actresses from his swanky Dayton Way boutique.
But according to Hayman's pal, Emmy-winning producer George Schlatter, he not only rescued fashion reps, he also saved Hollywood marriages, relationships and perhaps even lives over the past five decades.
"Our wives were known as the Hollywood Black Belt shoppers and they would regularly go to his boutique and pick out what they wanted – or what Fred thought they needed," Schlatter said last night at the Beverly Hills Tribute to Fred Hayman. "When it came time for anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, we FOFs (Friends of Fred) would rush to his boutique and pick up these prearranged gifts. Then we would have our fourth or fifth martini and rush home to restore or maintain domestic tranquility. He was Santa Claus in tassled loafers."
The name Fred Hayman is synonymous with discretion, class, elegance and glamour. And last night's black tie tribute to Hayman's fifty years of generosity and service to Beverly Hills was equally discreet, classy, elegant, glamorous and appropriately well-situated.
Dayton Way was closed between Rodeo and Camden for the yellow-carpeted elegant dinner party catered by the Peninsula and Wolfgang Puck. Guests enjoying pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres from The Grill stood steps from Hayman's legendary '60s Giorgio Beverly Hills boutique. After selling the Giorgio empire to Avon in 1987, he recreated it into Fred Hayman Beverly Hills. He's closed up shop, but still owns the prime real estate, now leased to Louis Vuitton.
It was a long and late night of tributes but worth staying up for. The LA Gospel Choir sang. Hollywood columnist Army Archerd and Hayman shared memories. Creator of the Best/Worst Dressed List Richard Blackwell was there. Cyd Charise and Jacqueline Bisset recalled shopping at Hayman's boutiques. Merv Griffin sang a few ditties and had everyone chuckling with his outrageous Fred tales.
New BH mayor Jimmy Delshad announced that May 28 - June 3 is officially "Fred Hayman Week in Beverly Hills." Sculptor Robert Graham presented a new work "Angels in Flight" to Hayman as a birthday present. But the big surprise was Placido Domingo, who presented a cake, sang Happy Birthday to the 82-years-young philanthropist and LA Opera supporter and led a toast to his classy friend with the finest Dom Perignon.
Thanks for the Oscar fashion memories, Fred!
Photo Credits: Placido Domingo, Fred Hayman and Merv Griffin are suited up for the BH Tribute.