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Fred Hayman honored with Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award

May 31, 2011 |  3:55 pm

Friends and family gathered at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way in Beverly Hills on Tuesday morning to honor retail pioneer Fred Hayman, across the street from the spot where his legendary store Giorgio of Beverly Hills once stood.

The pool table that helped make Hayman's store a social scene as much as a shopping destination was the stage piece for the morning event. "This is emotional," said Hayman, dressed in his signature sports jacket, custom shirt and yellow silk tie. "I have to ask, why me?'"

"Rodeo Drive would just be another district if not for Fred's marketing vision," said Beverly Hills Mayor Barry Brucker, referring to Hayman's creation of the Rodeo Drive Committee in 1977 that helped beautify the street and elevate its retail tenants. "He is one of the city's grandest boosters," he added, noting Hayman's support of the firefighter and police officer funds and the Beverly Hills International Documentary Film Festival, among other things.

Hayman is the 15th recipient of the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award, created to honor legends at the intersection of fashion and entertainment.

Wanda McDaniel, now executive vice president of entertainment industry communications at Giorgio Armani, admitted that her first love was for that other Giorgio, Giorgio Beverly Hills, where she bought the Chloe gown she wore to wed Hollywood producer Albert Ruddy in 1981. "Fred, you were one of the reasons I came out to L.A. and dreamed my dream," said McDaniel, a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism who moved here at age 20 after winning a prize in a contest tied to Fashion Creators Press Week. "You are my original maestro."

L.A.-based fashion journalist and retailer Rose Apodaca, who penned the new book about Hayman's life,  "Fred Hayman: The Extraordinary Difference," called him a "retail revolutionary" who taught her that "even in casual L.A., there is always room for elegance."

Producer-director Gil Cates praised Hayman's former role as Academy Awards fashion coordinator, who hosted annual pre-Oscars fashion shows. "You brought dignity to the Oscars show, which is not easy to do," Cates said, adding that Hayman was always on call for celebrities, even bringing dresses by the theater on Oscars rehearsal day.

Hayman, it seems, may also have been the original celebrity stylist. And so it was appropriate that when the speeches had ended and the plaque was unveiled, it was inscribed with the words "Clothes don't make a star, but they sure do help."

-- Booth Moore


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Photo: Fred Hayman, known as "the father of Rodeo Drive,"  was honored with a plaque unveiling and induction ceremony by the Rodeo Drive Walk Of Style on Tuesday in Beverly Hills. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.