Fashion / Shopping

Houston Fashion Icon’s Personal Treasures to be Sold in River Oaks Estate Sale: The Legacy of Mickey Rosmarin Shines Through

BY // 06.08.18

Two years ago this month, Texas lost one of its icons. And we do not use the word “icon” lightly. When legendary retailer, the beloved founder of Tootsies — Mickey Rosmarin — died of a heart attack in June of 2016, the entire Texas fashion world, especially in his hometown of Houston, paused.

Rosmarin, a pioneer and personality in the world of luxury retail, was known as a maverick. In the competitive realm of luxury shopping, Rosmarin and Tootsies inspired generations of customers who remained loyal to the man and the brand that grew to encompass stores in Dallas and Atlanta, as well as his Houston flagship.

PaperCity editor in chief, Holly Moore, recalled Rosmarin, a man whose friendship extended across the decades:

“Mickey has been a rescuer, champion, believer, and friend to so many people, charities, and businesses. Tootsies will continue in glorious fashion, but the loss of Mickey the man leaves a hole in this magazine, and in our hearts.”

Now friends, fans, collectors, and those seeking to possess a little of the Mickey magic, can acquire important furnishings, objects, artwork, and other treasures from the retailer’s estate. They are being sold in Houston to benefit the estate, from Friday, June 15 through Monday, June 18.

The venue’s exact address to be revealed in the coming days, is within the River Oaks Shopping Center.

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Houston-based Judy Robinson Estate Sales will be conducting the four-day sale. Robinson is the go-to for high-profile estates of important Houston personages. Recent notable Robinson-organized estate sales include those of world-celebrated heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley and his wife Louise Cooley last fall as well as the King of the Torts Joe Jamail and wife, Lee Jamail in December of 2016.

Mickey’s Mansion

Rosmarin’s Museum District-home was celebrated for its beauty and extensive collection of fine and decorative arts, most notably important Art Deco and mid-century modern.

The dramatic staircase in Mickey Rosmarin’s 1923 Mediterranean-style home showcases the discerning eye of its late owner, the founder of Tootsies. Vignettes from the home designed by architect Wiliam Ward Watkin will be staged by Judy Robinson Estate Sales. (Photo Tria Giovan)

Here’s an excerpt from Domestic Art: Curated Interiors, a 2008 volume published by Assouline featuring highlights from the first decades of PaperCity magazine. Domestic Art details the splendors of the Rosmarin home – many of which are culled for this estate sale.

PaperCity contributing editor Lauran Claridge writes in Domestic Art:

“This rock-and-roll story starts with Biba in London and ends, in a whirlwind of fashion, at an imposing Mediterranean house with an eccentric bent. Mickey Rosmarin — owner of the iconic women’s fashion emporium Tootsies in Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta, and inhabitant of this old-world, in-town villa — looks back to the 1970s when it all began.”

“The inspiration for his store was a sensation happening on the other side of the pond: the boutique Biba in London. ‘I think Biba opened the same year we did, 1974,’ Rosmarin says. ‘It was fun and fresh, and was a complete inspiration. I even have the first catalog they ever made.’ Rosmarin sped from New York to Paris, Miami to St. Barth’s and St. Tropez, picking up ideas and inspiration for his stores, as well as furnishings and art for his home.

“In the ‘80s, it wasn’t a Saturday night unless there was a party at his store with visiting designers such as Donna Karan, Robert Lee Morris, Zandra Rhodes, Paloma Picasso, Michael Kors, and Diane von Furstenberg dropping by.

“His magnificent, rambling, 1920s-era house, designed by William Ward Watkin, provides suitably surreal surroundings for his cache for prime modernist treasures by Eileen Gray, Gilbert Rohde, Edwin Lutyens, Karl Springer, and more (which Rosmarin snapped up in Miami and L.A. and stowed away for decades), as well as his collections of Art Deco and Italian moderne furnishings from the ‘40s and ‘50s.

“Also in residence are Hollywood Regency blackamoors from an estate in New Orleans, a verre églomisé from a Louisiana motel, Edwin Lutyens chairs designed for The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, black velvet Moderne sofas from an old Miami hotel, and bits of wild-animal prints and glints of gold.”

Designer Richard Holley said at the time about his client:

“What I do want to tell you, if I tell you nothing else of what I know about Mickey Rosmarin, is that he has never, ever varied or swayed from a point of view. His vision is crystal clear.”


Find more images of offerings from the Estate of Mickey Rosmarin here and here.

Estate Sale Days and Times: Friday, June 15 through Monday, June 18, 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Location: River Oaks Shopping Center; exact address, to be revealed here on Thursday, June 14.

Curated Collection