Nino Cerruti: Italian fashion pioneer dies aged 91

Written by Sharon Braithwaite, CNN

Italian designer and entrepreneur Nino Cerruti died on Saturday at the age of 91, the Italian family firm Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti said in a statement.
He died at the hospital in Vercelli, Italy, where he was admitted to hospital for a hip operation, CNN affiliate SkyTg24 reported Saturday.
“For the family, friends, collaborators and employees of Lanificio Cerruti, and for the whole world of Italian fashion, today is a very sad day, for the death of Mr. Nino”, reads the press release from the company Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti. posted on Facebook.

“We have lost a talented man, an extraordinary designer, a man ahead of his time and a wonderful mentor, to whom many people owe so much,” the statement said.

“Through his commitment and dedication to his work, which was his mission for him, he will become an eternal example of a life lived in the constant search for style and harmony”, affirmed the company.

The models display the creations of the Italian designer Nino Cerruti for his Menswear Fall / Winter 2009/2010 show in Paris, France on January 23, 2009. Credit: Frederic Nebinger-Thierry Orban / Abaca Press / Alamy Photo

Born in Biella, Italy, on September 25, 1930, to a family of textile industrialists, Cerruti inherited the family business at the age of 20 upon his father’s death, according to his biography published on the Lanificio Cerruti website.

In 1967 he opened the first Cerruti 1881 boutique in Place de la Madeleine in Paris. In the mid-1960s, Cerruti “collaborated with new emerging names in Italian fashion, hiring designers of the caliber of Giorgio Armani as ‘rookies'”, it is said, adding that in the 1970s he created the first deconstructed jacket.

Cerruti was also mentor of Giorgio Armani and Veronique Nichanian and in 1994 he was appointed official designer of the Ferrari of the Formula 1 team.

Italian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Gilberto Pichetto also expressed his condolences in a statement sent to CNN on Sunday.

“I am very saddened by the death of the manager and stylist Nino Cerruti: a giant of Italian entrepreneurship and a significant piece of Biella’s history passed away with him,” said Pichetto. “I will always remember him with affection and esteem, for his intuitions, competence and foresight with which he has made Italian fashion great, exporting our Made in Italy to the world”.

A model in the Nico Cerruti fashion show, Fall-Winter 1985/86 collection in Paris in March 1985, France.

A model in the Nico Cerruti fashion show, Fall-Winter 1985/86 collection in Paris in March 1985, France. Credit: Daniel Simon / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris paid tribute to Cerruti in a statement released Sunday, saying, “Nino Cerruti was one of the most influential designers of luxury men’s ready-to-wear in the 20th century. Innovator , industrialist, and great designer, revolutionized high-end men’s fashion by inventing the first deconstructed jacket in the 70s.

“Nino Cerruti happens both with his homonymous house and with the family business Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti. Nino Cerruti defined the concept of ‘style’ as ‘a perfect combination of culture and art’, a term he preferred to ‘elegance’, which second it had ‘a terrible old taste’. “

Ralph Toledano, President of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, added: “Nino Cerruti was undoubtedly a creative genius, a passionate man with an extraordinary gaze, but also a great entrepreneur. Nino Cerruti introduced the concept of “casual chic” in fashion and menswear, and he was himself a man of rare elegance.

“Today we say goodbye to a great man who belonged as much to Milan as to Paris,” said Toledano.

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