Murray Pearlstein

MURRAY PEARLSTEIN Murray Pearlstein, who transformed Louis Boston from local men's clothing store into an internationally recognized fashion retailer, died at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. on Sunday. He was 84. The cause of death was complications from cancer. Pearlstein's father, Saul, and Uncle, Nathan, started Louis in 1929, selling American-made suits and haberdashery to a largely business clientele from the Boston area from a store on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. Generations of Bostonians and college students turned to Louis when they needed suits for graduations, weddings and bar mitzvahs. And for decades, people would line up around the corner for the opening of the "Louis Sale" at Filene's basement in downtown Boston. It was Pearlstein, as the store's buyer, who set Louis on a different path when he began importing clothing from some of Europe's top fashion designers beginning in the late 1960s. Louis was one of the first retailers in the United States to carry clothing by Pierre Cardin, Yves St. Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gianni Versace, Luciano Barbera, Mario Rubinacci, Giorgio Armani, Paul Smith, Gianfranco Ferre, and Dries van Noten, along with the Kiton and Brioni lines. American designer Joseph Aboud got his start as a salesman and buyer at Louis. Over the years, Pearlstein and his store won numerous international awards and recognition and he was widely respected by clothing makers, other retailers and the fashion press. At the fashion shows in London, Paris and Milan, he was known as a "buyer's buyer," with a keen eye for styling and fine craftsmanship. At his stores, Pearlstein kept a relentless focus on "merchandising," frequently changing his hand-picked outfits that were put on display in shop windows and inside the store. He was the first fashion retailer to publish a magazine for his customers. Louis top salesmen and tailors were known to stay for decades. Under Pearlstein and his cousins Jerome and Louis, Louis Boston opened branches in the Chestnut Hill Mall and Harvard Square, and later on 57th St. in Manhattan's Upper East Side. In 1990, Pearlstein negotiated with Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. to consolidate Louis at a single location, the old Museum of Natural History, an elegant and historic brownstone building at the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Streets. As part of the restoration, a restaurant and hair salon was added. Pearlstein's younger daughter, Debi Greenberg, took over the ownership and management of the store from her father beginning in the 1990s. In 2010, Greenberg moved Louis from the Back Bay to a new location at Fan Pier on Boston Harbor, where it continues to serve both a regional and international clientele. It was Pearlstein's older daughter, Nancy, who first opened the women's department at Louis in the 1980s. She now runs her own women's clothing store, Relish, in Washington, D.C. Murray Russell Pearlstein was born and raised in Brookline and graduated from Brookline High School, where he was a track star. He attended Middlebury College and Harvard. He lived for many years in Brookline and later in Rye Beach, N.H., with his first wife, Dorothy Stein Pearlstein, who died of cancer in 1989. He later lived in Gloucester and Boston's North End before moving to Santa Fe in 2003. Pearlstein leaves his wife of 23 years, Jeanne Barbour Pearlstein, of Santa Fe; a son Steven, of Washington, D.C., a business and economics columnist with the Washington Post who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and now teaches at George Mason University; daughters Nancy Pearlstein of Washington and Debi Greenberg of Jamaica Plain; and three grandchildren, Laura and Eli Pearlstein and Samantha Greenberg. Many thanks to Glennis and the staff of Coming Home Connections for their professional and loving care. Berardinelli Family Funeral Service 1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505) 984-8600 Please sign our guestbook for the family at:

Funeral Home

Berardinelli Family Funeral Service
1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 984-8600
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Jan. 1, 1900