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Remembering Retail Force Patti Silver, Fred Segal Feet’s ‘Wonder Woman’

“My bride was a wonder woman. It was a match made in heaven.”

An emotional Stanley Silver remembered Patti Silver, his wife of 61 years, during a funeral service last week in Los Angeles that brought together her tight-knit family and beloved friends who remembered Silver’s passion for life, work, art, philanthropy and animals. Silver died on Jan. 28 at age 81 after battling a series of illnesses with great courage and bravery, her husband said during the service.

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Together, the unstoppable pair turned their Los Angeles boutique, Fred Segal Feet on Melrose Avenue, into one of the country’s most powerful and innovative independent footwear retailers during its four-decade run. (The couple sold the business in 2011.)

Patti joined the business in the early 1980s, assuming buying duties for women’s footwear. Soon after, the store took off, attracting actors, musicians, stylists and fashionistas of all stripes. Lionel Richie and Barbra Streisand were regulars. The retailer became such a hotspot during its glory days that customers would line up outside the night before a sale kicked off, remembered Harry, the Silvers’ son who worked with his parents at the store when he was in high school.

For footwear designers, Fred Segal Feet was the go-to retailer in Los Angeles, and the store was instrumental in building brands like Valentino, Saint Laurent, Giuseppe Zanotti and many others.

“I had the special privilege of knowing Patti for a long time. Everybody admired her for the trendsetter she was,” said Alain Baume, president and CEO of Giuseppe Zanotti USA Inc. “Patti and Stanley were a groundbreaking couple in bringing the latest fashion trends and most hip brands to Los Angeles.”

Patti traveled the world to put together an assortment you couldn’t find anywhere else — and she was unafraid to mix high-end fashion with low-end product at a time when the concept was radical, stocking everything from $60 flip-flops to $7,000 designer sneakers. She was an early believer in Ugg, which is now one of the shoe industry’s most influential and enduring brands.

“There was really no one else who could match that magic Patti delivered, both personally and professionally,” said FN Editorial Director Michael Atmore, during his remarks at the funeral. “Designers loved her. She got them to open up. She kept them honest. She was extremely frank about what she liked and what she didn’t like. They learned from her and understood her take was a personal one. She showed that a little store with a powerful footprint could make a big difference in this world.”

Beyond footwear, Patti’s passion extended to many other areas, from art to philanthropy.

She was a force at dozens of charity organizations and was a fierce activist for the causes she believed in. She dedicated her time and passion to the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and many other Jewish groups. Patti also served on the board of governors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, and was a trustee for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA). Her love of animals also led her to become a major donor to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and the Jane Goodall Institute, among other organizations.

In addition to Stanley, Patti is survived by her children, Harry, Deena, and Champ; and her grandchildren, Bridget, Charlotte, Livvy, Lily, Andrew, Michael, Jake, and Ryan.

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