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Steven Salen, a tailor who dressed presidents and survived the Holocaust, passes away at age 103

By 12/06/2022 3:36 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

A strong man wearing an ugly suit enraged Steven Salen more than anything.

“That suit doesn’t fit at all!

Elayne Landau, his daughter, recalls his father yelling at the TV several times.

“How will he win the election? “Elayne, please send him a letter,” he would order. “I’m watching you on TV.” It fits that suit horribly.

You appear to be incredibly biased.

Call on me! ’

Sometimes, she would even send the letter, Landau remembered in an interview. And on a few occasions, a courteous and cordial response was given.

On November 23, Salen, 103, passed away in a Manhasset, New York, hospital.

He was a Holocaust survivor and a skilled black marketeer during the war, and after arriving in New York, he established himself as an outfitter, or “bespoke tailor,” to the wealthy and influential, working until he was 95.

Salen loved bragging about the chances this nation afforded him, but like many survivors, he didn’t start talking openly about the atrocities he saw and endured until much later in life—in his case when he was in his 90s.

According to his granddaughter Rachel Landau Fisher, his dad loved telling his children and grandchildren about his clients and the things he created to make them seem wonderful.

He once found an old photograph of a man in a tidy gray overcoat standing on a tarmac. According to Salen, he manufactured the coat.

His granddaughter, Landau Fisher, stated in a tribute that his grandchildren, Jake, Sofia, Rachel, and Sam, “enjoyed his numerous stories, including a favorite of a Mafia client walking in on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in his underwear during a fitting.”

He preserved mementos of his career at his Bayside, Queens, home, including handwritten notes in ledgers from decades ago with names like Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his secretary of state,  a $3,170 cheque in a frame from Gerald Ford, the previous president, from 1980.

Tie clips for Gerald Ford.

A client list from 2000 that contains names like Hearst and Scorcese; a hardcover and immaculate edition of Kissinger’s memoir, “White House Years,” with a dedication, “To Steve Salen, who makes me look almost respectable.”

According to Elayne Landau, Martin Scorsese was one of the director’s final clients. “Harvey Keitel was, too.”


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