Matthew Mellon, the heir to banking and oil fortunes, has died aged 53 at a drug rehabilitation center in Mexico. He reportedly battled an addiction to Oxycontin.
An entrepreneur, a private equity investor and Harrys of London founder, Mellon has been linked to a number of fashion designers such as Tamara Mellon, his first wife, who cofounded Jimmy Choo. Noelle Reno, his former fiancée, aided Mellon with the launch of cashmere label Degrees of Freedom. Mellon married Nicole Hanley and together they started a line called Hanley-Mellon. They divorced in 2015.
“It’s terribly sad news,” said Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi. “Matthew was a kind soul.”
Harry’s of London, Mellon’s first fashion business, began in 2002. The men’s footwear company was named after his grandfather, Harry Stokes. In 2006, Mellon sold a 40 percent stake in the company to the Atelier Fund for $3.5 million. Mellon was inspired to create his own range after traveling with his former wife to the Jimmy Choo factories in Italy and crafting the brand’s men’s shoes for a few of seasons, something which was then discontinued.
Adam Drawas, a consultant who helped produce the Hanley-Mellon collection at the time, said: “Matthew has a 100 percent input on the design. He knows color and he has a great eye. Matthew’s background is luxury.”
Drawas is now the co-owner of Walker Drawas, a Los Angeles based publicity and VIP Entertainment Marketing Agency. “I worked with Matthew on Hanley Mellon, one of his many fashion start-ups he created with then partner Nicole Hanley,” said Drawas. “Matthew was fiercely passionate about creating projects that were disruptive and luxurious. He loved being around creatives. With this intense passion for life came personal demons, which were ever-present when I knew him. Matthew commanded a room and had a good heart at the core of his being.”
Mellon’s good friend Liz Hurley, who attended his wedding to Tamara with Hugh Grant in 2000, called it “a very sad day.”
“Matthew was a lovely man and a good friend of mine for over 20 years,” said Hurley. “I will miss his kindness and his infectious enthusiasm for life.”
Born in New York, Mellon was raised in Florida and Maine. He is survived by Tamara Mellon and their daughter, Araminta, and Hanley, his second wife, and their two children, Force and Olympia.