Stacy Van Praagh, Former President of Alexander McQueen Americas, Dies at 52
Stacy Van Praagh, a global fashion executive who was previously president of Alexander McQueen Americas, died at home in New York Sunday. She was 52.
Van Praagh succumbed to cancer after a four-year battle, according to her husband, Giles Van Praagh.
Having held leadership roles at fashion companies such as Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta, Kate Spade and Chanel, Stacy Van Praagh was highly regarded as a passionate, positive and highly engaged leader and team builder. She was known for her big, energetic personality and was described by colleagues as a go-getter who loved luxury products.
Born in Washington, D.C., Van Praagh was raised in Wilton, Conn., and graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and affairs in 1993.
She began her career at Chanel and quickly rose through the ranks during her eight-and-a-half years there, starting as the ready-to-wear office assistant and rising to account executive, sales manager and ultimately sales director of rtw.
“I gave Stacy her first job in fashion. I had the privilege of watching this tall, enthusiastic girl with a mile-wide smile and hair, which had a life of its own turn into this chic, consummate professional,” said Mary-Adair Macaire, a former senior vice president of ready-to-wear at Chanel.
“Stacy was one of those individuals who make our industry a joy. You could trust her to do what needed to be done, she was a passionate lover of creation and the process and its stories. She was a generous team player. We worked together for eight years, and I adored having her on my team,” Macaire said.
She said that Van Praagh was also “a cut-up.”
“She didn’t have any inhibitions about making herself look as silly as possible, and yet she was totally inspiring. We were friends throughout her career as she moved onto her various jobs, we stayed close. I would watch her with her own team. She was an inspiring leader who was very approachable. I saw sales people coming up to her on the sales floor, and she knew everybody’s name and just had a smile for everyone and had a moment for their issues.”
Van Praagh left Chanel to join Kate Spade as vice president of sales before landing at Oscar de la Renta where she was global vice president of sales. In that role, she doubled the brand’s wholesale sales from 2005 to 2008 and significantly grew international business.
“Stacy joined Oscar de la Renta in 2005 with a mandate to modernize our sales organization as we pursued rapid, profitable wholesale growth both domestically and internationally. She achieved her mission well, while balancing the need to maintain our legacy trunk show businesses. Though she eventually moved on to other brands, her contribution to today’s Oscar de la Renta is tremendous,” said Alex Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta on Monday.
After leaving de la Renta, Van Praagh joined Fendi as president of the Americas, where she drove significant revenue growth through retail and wholesale channels over her four-year tenure. When Van Praagh was hired at Fendi in 2009, Michael Burke, then Fendi’s CEO, told WWD: “She’s charismatic, dynamic and positive. We wanted to look for the right person who could continue to develop our relationships with our wholesale partners.”
Following Fendi, Van Praagh went briefly to Reed Krakoff as president, later became an operating partner at Marvin Traub Associates (now called Traub). She then established her own consultancy business advising both luxury and contemporary brands on strategy and growth.
Her last full-time position was at Alexander McQueen, where she was president of the Americas from 2017 to 2022, developing the Americas business and raising the brand’s visibility and desirability.
“Stacy was an incredible person who devoted her energy and passion to everything she did. She was a true partner in business and integral to the development and repositioning of Alexander McQueen in the Americas. My deepest strength and condolences are with her family, particularly her husband and her son,” said Emmanuel Gintzburger, former CEO of Alexander McQueen and current CEO of Versace.
Mortimer Singer, managing partner of Traub Capital Partners, said, “Stacy was passionate about the luxury industry and an absolute professional. She was both strategic and creative and was thriving at what was likely a dream job for her at McQueen. She will be dearly missed.”
Lana Todorovich, chief merchandising officer at Neiman Marcus, said, “Stacy was a true industry leader whose presence and dedication to excellence graced our industry for many years. She will forever be remembered for driving aspiration in fashion and for her authentic and steadfast partnership.”
Robert Burke, founder and CEO of Robert Burke Associates, a New York-based global consulting firm, has known Van Praagh for many years and said he admired her work ethic.
“I first met Stacy when she was in wholesale at Chanel and I was the fashion director of Bergdorf. She was trained by the very best in the industry, and when she moved to Oscar, Fendi and McQueen she understood how to build partnerships and what it takes to grow a brand. At each house she built and trained a devoted team, just the way she had been taught. Most importantly, she was a pleasure to work with because she had high integrity, uncompromising values and ethics and her word was bankable. She will be missed,” Burke said.
Her husband Giles spoke about how his wife poured herself into every brand she worked for.
“She absolutely loved the brands and loved all the houses she was with over the years. She was completely and totally dedicated to whichever one she was with. Her wardrobe she would completely turn over to that brand. We have lots and lots and lots of high-end fashion,” said Giles, who met his wife in New York City after they both graduated from Rollins College and made their home in the city.
He noted that his wife mentored innumerable people and worked with students at NYU Stern to help them with the fashion aspect of their graduate program. “She would tell them in addition to loving the business of fashion, she truly loved fashion overall and was completely motivated and excited by it,” he said. “She was all in, passionate about the industry and the brands she represented, would wear them exclusively while in the roles and was an amazing brand ambassador in the biggest definition possible,” Giles said.
In her spare time, Van Praagh was passionate about sports and was a lifelong tennis player. As a big Yankees fan, along with her family, she was very proud of all the stats she knew, her husband said. “She really enjoyed spending time with our family, especially with her nieces and nephews and six godchildren. She was always the one who made family gatherings fun and exciting.
“She was a mentor, a leader, a teacher and a lifelong student, always looking to learn every day,” Giles added. She had served on the Rollins College board for a decade.
In addition to her husband Giles, Van Praagh is survived by their 19-year-old son Sam, a student at Emory University; her mother, Mary Dunning; her sister, Christine Mullen, and stepbrother, Ben Dunning.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.