A crowd of top industry players, colleagues, family and friends gathered this morning at a memorial to remember Vince Camuto, who died on Jan. 21.
The service, at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, was attended by Terry Lundgren, Blake Nordstrom, Liz Rodbell, Diane Sullivan, Steve Madden, Neil Cole, Sam Edelman, Bob Campbell and hundreds of other mourners from the fashion industry and beyond.
Tory Burch, Alex DelCielo, president and COO of Camuto Group, and Camuto’s son, Robert Camuto, all spoke about the legendary executive’s incredible impact.
“He mentored me so I would be successful in every opportunity,” said DelCielo, who worked with Camuto at Nine West and Camuto Group. “He was my mentor, teacher, brother and best friend.”
DelCielo said Camuto always put the people who surrounded him above everything else. “He didn’t have employees, he had students,” the executive said. “His legacy is people.”
Tory Burch, who partnered with Camuto on her footwear line, said the pair had an “extraordinary partnership” and “deep friendship.”
She called Camuto a footwear genius — in a room of 100,000 shoes, he could pick out the 10 bestsellers, she said. But more than that, Burch stated, Camuto would be remembered for his integrity and love of people. “He was kind to everyone.”
Robert Camuto spoke of his dad’s incredible soul. “You could see his soul shine through his eyes and his smile. … He never forgot that he was a fatherless kid from [the Lower East Side]. He always gave everyone a chance.”
His father’s life was “one heck of a ride,” Camuto said, adding that the elder Camuto recently told him he would trade it all for another 20 years. “He said he would start over from scratch with a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.”
Camuto died at home surrounded by his family while the music of Barry White — his favorite artist — played softly in the next room.
His son said he always encouraged people to tap into their passions, reach for the next level and “let the music play on and on.”