Like everyone else in our industry, along with my whole COUTURE and JA New York family, I am devastated by the loss of Cindy Edelstein. When I heard the news yesterday, I was in disbelief. I had many conversations with mutual friends and colleagues throughout the day where we just sat on the phone in silence. Shocked. Stunned. Saddened, to say the least. Today, the outpouring of love and affection throughout social media has been breathtaking. From Trace Shelton’s beautiful tribute, to Andrea Hansen’s goodbye letter, to Peggy Jo Donahue’s Facebook post quoting W.H. Auden’s supremely appropriate poem, to an email Robert Lee Morris sent out to his fellow CFDA jewelry designers, there is no doubt that Cindy is most beloved in our industry.
I don’t even remember when I first met Cindy. She was just always a part of my life in jewelry. An ubiquitous presence at any trade show or trade event, she threw herself into her business, her client’s businesses, her volunteer work; she embodied the theory that if you want something done, ask a busy person. Like many have pointed out, she was a fierce advocate, not just of the designers to whom she dedicated her life, but to everyone she encountered. Myself included. Cindy could be counted on. She could be counted on to give advice, for a little friendly gossip, for mindless chatter about hair and make up, to give me the low-down on the newest (and geekiest) technology on the market, and even (and possibly, quite often) to cut me down to size if necessary. But no matter what she said, even if I didn’t always want to hear it, there was never any doubt that Cindy was coming from a place of love and passion.
One of the things that Cindy was most passionate about, and one of the things I most admired about her, was the fact that she and her adoring husband, Frank Stankus, created one of the most incredible humans on the planet, Remy. There isn’t a single person who meets Remy who doesn’t walk away marveling at what an amazing young woman she is. The first time I met her, when she was very young, I walked away baffled that a kid (a kid!) could be so polite and smart and funny and engaging. I’d never met anyone quite like her. And as she grew up, became a teenager, she just continued to get better and better. No sullen teenage years for that one, she’s always just amazing to be around. Frank and Cindy did that. They were a family that actually enjoyed each other’s company, they actually liked one another, they were interested in each other’s interests and laughed and joked around and had fun together. From selling a ton of Girl Scout Cookies to planning Remy’s Bat Mitzvah and then focusing on her college options while everyone got on board to help run Cindy’s trade shows and company; they acted as a unit. And that always blew me away.
So while it is with a heavy heart that I will join so many friends and colleagues tomorrow to say goodbye to our good friend Cindy, in fumbling through writing this I realize, Cindy’s passion, her energy and her love will continue to thrive in our industry. And in each of our lives personally. And in the amazing human that she and Frank created.
Rest in peace my friend.