NEW YORK – Gianfranco Ferrre, who achieved international notoriety when he became the top designer at Christian Dior in the late 1980s, died Sunday at 62. He was hospitalized in Milan on Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage, according to various press reports.
Ferre’s family released a statement saying he died at San Raffaele hospital in Milan at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) Sunday. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Trained as an architect, Ferre first established his design reputation with jewelry and accessories but moved into apparel early on, cementing a reputation in which his architectural background was translated into simple lines with a geometric feeling. He launched his first women’s collection in 1978 and added menswear four years later, as well as a couture collection in 1986.
His ability to impart fashion excitement to more basic items, such as white blouses and classic business suits, in 1989 landed him the top design job at Christian Dior, making him the first of several designers not of French descent to oversee design for the stable of French brands owned by LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton. He ended his relationship with LVMH in 1997 but continued to produce his own collections, which were variously described as minimalist or even spare.