Laura Biagiotti, who made a mark globally with her loose-fitting female clothing inspired by the Far East style, has died at the age of 73.
News of the Italian fashion designer’s death comes after she was reported to have suffered from cardiac arrest on Wednesday at her medieval castle on the outskirts of Italy’s capital, Rome. She had been living in the 11th century Marco Simone Castle since the 1980s.
Biagotti’s daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti, the vice president and creative director of the Biagiotti Group, announced her mother’s death on Twitter. Laura Biagiotti’s namesake brand has also marked her passing with a biblical passage on its homepage, which is said to have been chosen by Lavinia.
“Do not let your hearts be trouble. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” the passage chosen from John reads.
According to the Associated Press, Biagiotti was left with serious brain damage after suffering from a heart attack earlier this week. She was reportedly undergoing treatment at the Sant’Andrea hospital in Rome.
Laura Biagiotti, who often used silk and cashmere materials in her designs, was dubbed as “The Queen of Cashmere” by the New York Times. She has been described as one of Italy’s greatest fashion designers.
Biagiotti was a trailblazer in the fashion world. She was the first Italian designer to stage a fashion show in China and the Grand Theater of the Kremlin, Russia in 1988 and 1995 respectively.
In her younger years, Biagiotti planned to become an archaeologist and studied literature in school. However, she was drawn into the world of fashion after choosing to help her mother, Delia Biagiotti, when her fashion atelier landed a contract to make uniforms for Alitalia flight attendants in the sixties, Reuters reported. The fashion house got other contracts and grew bigger.
Laura Biagiotti is credited with transforming her mother’s atelier into one of the most important fashion houses in Italy today. The Laura Biagiotti brand produces male, female, and children’s clothes as well as accessories including perfumes.
“Fashion is a standard-bearer for Italian products, but it is also a difficult and delicate sector. Every year we all start with a blank sheet on which we have to outline our company’s immediate future plans. We need to continuously re-invent ourselves, to maintain the margins of competitiveness that keeps us at the top of the market. It’s difficult and tiring,” she said during an interview with the Italian Trade Promotion Agency several years ago.
Laura Biagiotti earned many awards during her lifetime such as the Marco Polo Award in 1993, the Italian Knights of Labor Award in 1995, the Prix Demmes D’Europe Award in 2001, the Lupo Capitolina Award in 2004, the Crystal Lion Achievement Award in 2007, and the Arte Sostantive Femminile Award in 2013.
Laura Biagiotti was married to Gianni Cigna, who died in 1996. The couple lived together at the Marco Simone castle before Cigna’s death. Lavinia was their only child.
Besides being a leading fashion figure, Laura Biagiotti has also distinguished herself in other ways. She had the prestigious Marco Simone Golf Club built near her castle in 1991. It is regarded as one of the best golf courses in Italy today.
Biagiotti was deeply interested in promoting Italian culture, art, and products. She invested in the restoration of several ancient monuments including Michelangelo’s Cordoned Staircase of the Capitol.
Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has delivered a public farewell to Laura Biagiotti. He described her as a “generous supporter” of the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage. Many people have also paid tribute to Biagiotti on social media.
There have not been any announcements about the funeral plans for the late Laura Biagiotti.
[Featured Image by Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images]