Designer Charles Nolan, best known for his sportswear collections and work with Anne Klein, has died of cancer. His partner, Andrew Tobias, is the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. Both men are well-known and respected for their work for LGBT equality and Democratic politics.
Early in his career, Mr. Nolan was a major force behind the expansion of mainstream American sportswear labels like Bill Blass, Ellen Tracy and Anne Klein. But he was perhaps better known publicly for the work he did dressing private clients, including many prominent women on the political scene.
At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, for example, Tipper Gore was wearing a periwinkle Charles Nolan coat-and-dress ensemble when she was kissed so passionately by her husband, Vice President Al Gore, that the resulting image was widely described as humanizing Mr. Gore's robotic reputation during his run for president.
But his most surprising political statement, at least in the eyes of his colleagues on Seventh Avenue, came in 2003, when he abruptly quit as the head designer of Anne Klein, where he had led a successful turnaround of the brand's image, to volunteer for the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont.
Mr. Nolan said he had been disillusioned by the hesitancy of major designers to get involved in, or even talk about, politics -- although there was little evidence that his own activism had negatively affected his career.
Our condolences to Andy and his family. The world has lost a shining light.