Phillips Collection founder Larry Phillips dies at 95
Tanya K. Merritte -- Furniture Today, February 22, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Larry R. Phillips, a founder of high-end furnishings and home décor source Phillips Collection, has died at 95.
Phillips ended up in home furnishings by way of the apparel industry. After graduating college early at 19 and serving in World War II, where he was among the first U.S. troops to invade concentration camps in Germany, Phillips returned home and joined his father and brother in the dress manufacturing business.
Phillips and his wife, Sherry, began traveling in the late 1960s to Hong Kong, where the business's dress factories were located. They also traveled to other countries, including Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos, where they found art and furniture they brought back to their home on Long Island.
The Phillipses moved into a career as Asian fine art dealers. They saw an opportunity to bring the global style to a broad home furnishings market, so along with their son Mark and his wife, Julie, they launched the Phillips Collection in 1983.
Mark Phillips, president and CEO of Phillips Collection, said his father's favorite part of running the business was going to the far reaches of the world to find "timeless beauty." He was in "pursuit of great design," Phillips said. "His passion for beauty and collecting resulted in his pieces being placed (in museums) all of over the world."
While he never officially retired, Mark Phillips said his father stepped away from the day-to-day business about 10 years ago at age 85.
Phillips Collection remains a family-owned business, with Mark Phillips' wife Julie, helping run the company along with their son Jason, who is creative director and their daughter, Jessica Phillips Penn, who heads the hospitality division.
Larry Phillips is survived by his wife, two sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.