by Christopher Blomquist

Italian fashion designer Nino Cerruti died in northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region at age 91 on Saturday.

Italian newspaper Corriere said he had been hospitalized for hip surgery.

His family has operated a textile factory in the area since 1881.

He launched his first menswear line in 1957 and a decade later established his now legendary and eponymous line, Cerruti 1881, in Paris while keeping all production in Italy.  Known for its soft silhouettes, the label went on to add womenswear and fragrances.

Cerruti sold the company, which is currently owned by China’s beleaguered Trinity Group, to Italian investors in 2001 but remained a front-row fixture at its seasonal fashion shows in Paris for years after.

Jason Basmajian, who served as Chief Creative Officer of Cerruti 1881 from 2015 to 2019, remembered the iconic designer in an Instagram post on Sunday. “Thank you Nino Cerruti for bringing intelligence, quality, and soul to the fashion world,” he wrote. “You are a gentleman of old school manners and a visionary designer with the most modern perspective. Everything about you was effortlessly chic, relevant but never trendy. Thank you for supporting my work. Knowing you has been an honour and a pleasure. Bon viaggio et grazie mille.”