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Gianfranco Ferré Dies in Milan

Italian fashion designer who headed a French couture house was 62



Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré died Sunday night in Milan. He was 62.

Ferré suffered a brain hemorrhage on Friday. Doctors at San Raffaele hospital confirmed his death, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Ferré went from being one of Italy’s leading fashion designers to being lead designer for the French fashion house of Christian Dior, a rare honor for a non-French designer.

Ferré was born in 1944, in Milan. He studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic Institute but, after graduating in 1969, began designing accessories for established companies like Walter Albini and Christiane Bailly. In 1974, he started his own fashion company, and launched his signature collection in 1978. In 1989, he was hired by the French luxury-goods executive Bernard Arnault to replace the designer Marc Bohan at Christian Dior. At the time, the hiring of a non-French designer was considered scandalous. According to Ferré’s obituary in The New York Times, Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner, said, “I don’t think that opening the doors to a foreigner — and an Italian — is respecting the spirit of creativity in France.”

After several years, Ferré had established a respectable business at Dior, causing its couture to grow in size and prestige comparable to that of Saint Laurent. “Back then, the fact that I was Italian created lots of problems,” Ferré told Women’s Wear Daily in an interview in February. “Luckily, though, my French wasn’t that bad.”




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