LOS ANGELES (AP) - Fred Hayman, the dapper entrepreneur whose vision transformed a nondescript Southern California street called Rodeo Drive into one of the world's pre-eminent fashion districts, has died at age 91.
Family friend Katy Sweet says Hayman, known affectionately as the godfather of Rodeo Drive, died Thursday at his home in Malibu.
Hayman had been a successful hotelier when he opened luxury clothing boutique Giorgio Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive in 1964. Neighbors at the time included a gas station and hardware store.
Hayman quickly upped the neighborhood's style and sophistication, employing a vintage Rolls-Royce to shuttle well-heeled customers to his business.
As word spread that the world's most exclusive designer brands could be found there, stores like Chanel, Hermes, Dior, Gucci, Prada and Cartier quickly came to Rodeo.