Pioneer of stretch jeans dies

Italian designer Elio Fiorucci succumbed to sudden illness

Ians July 22, 2015
Fiorucci’s pop style at democratic prices caused a revolution in clothing beginning in the 1960s. PHOTO: FILE

MILAN: Italian fashion designer Elio Fiorucci, known for pioneering stretch jeans, is dead. He was 80.

His relatives alerted emergency services after he failed to answer the telephone at the weekend. He was “in good health”, but may have succumbed to a sudden illness, the Fiorucci press office said, reports

Fiorucci’s typical offerings, combining Italian taste and a London spirit, were made up of bright and fluorescent colors, T-shirts printed with angels, and plastic-based accessories.

The designer, son of a shoe shop owner, was born in 1935 and was one of the great made-in-Italy innovators, whose pop style at democratic prices caused a revolution in clothing beginning in the 1960s.

He started his Milan-based fashion label in 1967, churning out pieces initially inspired by the 1960s modern fashion in London, but then got the idea for the stretch jeans after a trip to Ibiza, where he noticed the way wet jeans fit a woman’s body and wanted to re-create the effect to show off women’s curves.

Once the 1970s hit, his designs spread globally and he opened a store in New York City where the likes of Liz Taylor and Cher came to shop for denim pieces at affordable prices and the iconic T-shirts printed with the brand’s signature angels.

In 1990, Fiorucci sold his company to Japanese group Edwin International.

In 2003, he closed his main store here which at its peak was said to have sales of more than $15 million a year and launched the Love Therapy label. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015.

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