Gianfranco Ferre, the man dubbed the 'architect of fashion' for his sculptured silhouettes, died Sunday in Milan two days after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 62 years old. Ferre, one of the leading fashion designers of the 1980s and '90s, was known as the Architect for his well-structured suits and modest gowns. He was the first 'foreigner' to supervise a French design house, taking over as stylistic director at Christian Dior in 1989.
Giorgio Armani, the king of the 'Made in Italy' world to which Ferre also belonged, said he had long admired Ferre's artistic and intellectual work. He said,
When I think of Gianfranco Ferre, the idea that comes immediately to mind is the dignity, the calm, the sense of responsibility that he brought to his work.
Ferre first started his career as an accessories and jewelry designer, and later moved on to clothes. He received a degree in architecture in 1969 from Milan's Polytechnic Institute. In mid-1970s, he started his own company but the major jump came in 1989, when he was tapped by Bernard Arnault to be the top designer for Christian Dior. Ferre stayed on at Dior until the fall of 1996, when he returned to Milan to tend to his own men's and women's collections.
Ferre's designs were based on simple and structured lines, and the white blouse became one of his trademarks. Businesswomen around the world looking for a sophisticated look used his suits.
Donatella Versace called Ferre a man 'from another time' who helped change Italian fashion. ANSA quoted Versace as saying,
He was a great couturier who knew how to create an absolute chic with details that I will never get tired of looking at and that will remain in the history of fashion.
Ferre is survived by a brother and sister-in-law.