DESIGNER TRIBUTE: Relatives and friends of the late designer Katie Gallagher are planning a private memorial for her in May in New York, as officials continue to investigate her death as a homicide.
The invitation-only tribute will be held on May 18 at Saint Mary Grand in downtown Manhattan.
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One of the designer’s three sisters, Marlee, said Monday that the program is still being finalized.
The three-hour affair is expected to feature a range of the designs that she created over the years that will be curated by her former stylists. There will also be prints of her last season and a video that focuses on her work and her career. Similar to many job-thirsty New York City transplants, Gallagher took a can-do approach to making ends meet, playing the long game to achieve what she really was after: a career in fashion. The Rhode Island School of Design graduate worked as a bartender, floral designer, seamstress and a fashion intern to make her way in the competitive field of fashion. Her ever-readiness was evident as a child, who on occasion would wake up the family household with a dinosaur-like “let’s-do-this” roar, her mother Debra told WWD last year.
While Gallagher never ascended to international stardom or national fame, she created her own storyline and maintained a certain ingenuity. There also were occasional sparks of personal triumph, such as suiting up Lady Gaga, Laverne Cox and Daphne Guinness on occasion.
Two weeks ago her death was ruled a homicide. At that time, the New York City Police Department reported no arrests had been made and the investigation remains ongoing. The New York City chief medical examiner’s office determined that the cause was due to “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl and ethanol.” The 35-year-old had been found on July 24 in her Lower East Side apartment on Eldridge Street. In March, Gallagher’s sister Lara encouraged anyone with information to contact the NYPD.
Prior to her death, Gallagher was in the midst of a photography project with lensman William Eadon that involved a street casting (rather than using models), which was a new direction for her.
Next month’s event will feature a few speakers including former colleagues, friends and mentors, who will share insights into her life and work. Some of Gallagher’s floral designer friends will handle the floral arrangements near the altar and other displays throughout the church.
The memorial service will conclude with a processional and ceremonial burning.
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