Nancy Lattmann

Long­time owner of L’Ap­parenza was known for her abil­ity to con­nect with cus­tomers and an­tic­i­pate their pref­er­ences

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By John-John Wil­liams IV john­jwilliams@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/pop­cou­ture­jjw4

Nancy Lattmann, a bou­tique owner who dressed some of the re­gion’s most fash­ion­able women for 39 years, died Mon­day at the Univer­sity of Mary­land hospi­tal of pan­cre­atic can­cer. She was 78. Ms. Lattmann was born Nancy Ri­naldo in El­iz­a­beth, N.J., to Ital­ian im­mi­grants Ann and Matthew Ri­naldo Sr. Her fa­ther was a re­search en­gi­neer for Exxon. Her mother was a home­maker. She was the youngest of four chil­dren.

She moved to Baltimore in 1970 with her then-hus­band, Bob Lattmann, and their daugh­ters when he was trans­ferred here for work.

Ms. Lattmann worked in a bou­tique as a teenager and fell in love with fash­ion. She dreamed of hav­ing a store of her own, re­al­iz­ing that am­bi­tion when she opened Stuff & Stuff in Ke­nil­worth Bazaar in 1976. She op­er­ated the bou­tique there for 39 years.

“Mom saw a niche in the Baltimore re­tail mar­ket. There were very few high­fash­ion bou­tiques that were preva­lent in New Jersey and New York,” said her old­est daugh­ter, Deb­o­rah Mar­shall of Rux­ton. “She was sure Baltimore women wanted to wear fash­ion­able clothes that they pur­chased lo­cally. She was also sure there were those who didn’t want to wear Lilly Pulitzer all the time.”

Ms. Lattmann re­lo­cated the bou­tique to Pikesville from 1994 to 2002.

She changed the name to L’Ap­parenza in 2002, and moved to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion in Lake Falls Vil­lage.

Ac­cord­ing to her daugh­ters, the name is a tribute to her Ital­ian her­itage, mean­ing “ap­pear­ances.” The store car­ried pop­u­lar de­sign­ers such as The­ory, Tory Burch, Diane Von Fursten­berg, Parker, Jay God­frey and Vince.

“Through the years, the shop has been our sec­ond home,” Mrs. Mar­shall said.

“From the very be­gin­ning, my momtruly cared about each and ev­ery cus­tomer, and con­se­quently most of them be­came friends — many be­came a part of our ex­tended L’Ap­parenza fam­ily,” she added.

Ms. Lattmann’s youngest daugh­ter, Nancy Bag­gan of Reis­ter­stown, grew up in the bou­tique.

“I was a year old when my mom started her busi­ness. It was in­cred­i­bly in­spir­ing be­ing raised by such a smart, strong, in­de­pen­dent mother. Other girls didn’t have moms like mine, and that al­ways made me proud,” Ms. Bag­gan said. “I de­vel­oped a love of fash­ion sim­ply by al­ways be­ing around the beau­ti­ful clothes my mom chose to sell.

“But fash­ion isn’t just about style. It’s about peo­ple, and my mom knew that bet­ter than any­one,” she said. “She rev­eled in mak­ing her cus­tomers look and feel great.”

Helga Sur­ratt, pres­i­dent of About Faces Day Spa and Sa­lon, who knew Ms. Lattmann for 40 years, called her “an iconic woman.”

Ms. Sur­ratt fondly re­called watch­ing Ms. Lattmann’s daugh­ters grow up at the store. She re­mem­bered the laughs the two shared while work­ing on fash­ion shows and at so­cial events.

“Nancy was a con­nec­tor,” she said. “She was fun-lov­ing. She was full of life. She brought peo­ple to­gether.”

“There was no one in busi­ness like my mom,” said an­other daugh­ter, Bar­bara Lattmann of Pikesville. “She had a mem­ory like no other, and there wasn’t a face she ever for­got.

“My mom de­vel­oped a sense of busi­ness with an old-school men­tal­ity,” she said. “I al­ways knew she had a unique and spe­cial way of do­ing things that never failed. The store was al­ways and al­ways will be a home away from home.”

Ms. Lattmann op­er­ated her busi­ness dur­ing a bright pe­riod for re­tail in Baltimore — the 1980s and early ’90s. She would of­ten rem­i­nisce about those times when cus­tomers wouldn’t think twice about buy­ing the en­tire sea­son’s col­lec­tion of a hot de­signer or in­dulge in splurge pur­chases on a whim.

“There will never be an­other time like the shop-till-you-drop era of fash­ion,” she once told a Baltimore Sun re­porter vis­it­ing the store. “I miss those times.”

Ms. Lattmann was known for her abil­ity to con­nect with cus­tomers by re­mem­ber­ing de­tails about their per­sonal lives and an­tic­i­pat­ing their pref­er­ences. That’s a goal busi­ness own­ers strive for, said Pas­cale Le­maire, a Wash­ing­ton-area celebrity stylist who worked with Ms. Lattmann for al­most two decades.

“Nancy was a re­mark­able per­son,” Ms. Le­maire said. “She was al­ways savvy and on top of things and as sharp as a tack.

“Her mind was like a Rolodex,” she said. “She knew all her clients by name. She knew all their chil­dren and where they went to school. And she knew all of their cloth­ing pref­er­ences. She re­mem­bered all of those things about peo­ple.

“I’m go­ing to miss Nancy be­ing in back of that counter drink­ing her iced tea,” Mrs. Le­maire said.

Ms. Le­maire re­called once go­ing to Lib­er­a­tore’s with Ms. Lattmann for drinks. She said the two were barely able to carry on a con­ver­sa­tion be­cause Ms. Lattmann kept get­ting ap­proached by cus­tomers and friends.

“It took us 20 min­utes to leave,” she said. “They all stopped her to talk. Ev­ery­one knew her.”

Ms. Lattmann loved to en­ter­tain. She would fill her home dur­ing her an­nual hol­i­day party and en­joyed din­ing at re­gional restau­rants. She also loved to be around fam­ily.

“Sun­days were re­served for fam­ily, and she loved hold­ing court all day around the pool at her daugh­ter’s house with ev­ery mem­ber of the fam­ily in at­ten­dance,” Mrs. Mar­shall said. “They were her fa­vorite days.”

Ms. Lattmann also en­joyed va­ca­tion­ing with fam­ily in Florida, Bethany Beach and the Ba­hamas.

A fu­neral Mass will be of­fered at 10 a.m. to­day at the Cathe­dral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ters, Ms. Lattmann is sur­vived by an older brother, Don­ald Wil­liam Ri­naldo of Moun­tain Side, N.J.; and seven grand­chil­dren.

She and her hus­band di­vorced in 1985. Nancy Lattmann’s daugh­ters grew up work­ing with their mother in the store.

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