Monday, June 18, 2007

Gianfranco Ferré dies aged 62

Gianfranco Ferré died in Milan of a brain haemorrhage yesterday evening at the age of 62. One of the towering figures of fashion, he was best known for his extraordinary and beautiful variations on the white shirt. The Ferré woman was always chic, elegant and restrained, even when wearing his signature full skirted evening gowns.

Born in Italy in 1944, Ferré received a degree in architecture in 1969, but began designing accessories a year later. Ferré started his own company in 1974, and began his signature collection in 1978. His early architecture training informed his personal aesthetic, and he was often referred to as the Frank Lloyd Wright of Fashion. He once described his personal philosophy as, "I use the same approach to clothes as I did when I designed buildings. It is basic geometry; you take a flat form and revolve it in space."

In 1989 he was Bernard Arnault's surprise choice to replace the popular Marc Bohan at the quintessentially Parisian House of Christian Dior, and his appointment marked not only the beginning of the strong Italian influence in French fashion, but placed him at the vanguard of the renaissance in Italian fashion, providing strong competition to the traditional French hegemony. He remained at the house for eight years, leaving in 1996, and then concentrating on his own label in Milan. He won the Occhio d'Oro Award for Best Italian Designer six times.