Italian fashion designer Nino Cerruti’s pioneer has died at the age of 91, a fashion industry source confirmed to AFP on Saturday.
Cerruti was one of the leading figures of 20th century men’s ready-to-wear, with a style that was both elegant and relaxed. His brand Cerruti 1881 became famous and in its heyday it dressed many Hollywood stars.
He died at the hospital in Vercelli in northwestern Piedmont, where he was hospitalized for a hip operation, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on its website.
“He left us a colossus among Italian entrepreneurs,” said Gilberto Pichetto, Deputy Minister for Economic Development.
Tall and thin, he always insisted on being the first to try his creations, many of which are kept at the textile factory founded in 1881 by his grandfather in northern Biella. “I’ve always dressed the same person: myself,” he once said.
Born in 1930 in Biella, Cerruti dreamed of becoming a journalist. But after his father died when he was 20, he was forced to give up his philosophy studies to take over the family textile factory. He gained international attention in 1957 with his Hitman men’s collection, considered revolutionary at the time.
Cerruti opened his first eponymous boutique ten years later on Place de la Madeleine in Paris, where he then moved his company’s offices to be close to the beating heart of fashion.
Over time, his fashion house expanded to include luxury lines and fragrances, grouped under his Cerruti 1881 brand. The year dates back to the date Cerruti’s grandfather founded a textile factory in Biella. He also hired future fashion icon Giorgio Armani, who worked for Cerruti for six years in the 1960s before founding his famous company in 1975.
Cerruti’s ranges can be seen in cinemas, where she has designed clothes for films including Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Woman and Basic Instinct. Prominent movie characters such as Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford have been seen wearing Cerruti garments. He later took on the role of official designer for Ferrari in the mid-1990s.
His work has won accolades including two Cutty Sark menswear Awards, the Munich Fashion Week Award in 1981 and an Italian Pitti Uomo Award in 1986.
Reflecting on the changes in her 40+ years in fashion before retiring in 2000, she told The Observer: “The environment was very different then. When I started working, it was still a traditional culture with less individuality, more social correctness.
“This has quickly moved into a society where there is more freedom, more originality and more unfairness. It was a national industrial company when I started; now it is a global communications company ”.
In 2000 he sold control of the company to Fin.Part, an Italian industrial group. Less than a year later he bought the rest of the company and Cerruti left.