Italian fashion pioneer Nino Cerruti has died

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Roma (AFP) – Pioneering Italian fashion designer Nino Cerruti has died at the age of 91, it was learned on Saturday.

Cerruti, who dressed many Hollywood stars in his heyday, introduced “casual chic” to menswear when he created the first deconstructed jacket in the 1970s.

He died in hospital in Vercelli, in the northwest region of Piedmont, where he had been admitted for hip surgery, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on its website.

Cerruti was one of the leading figures of 20th century men’s ready-to-wear, with a style that was both elegant and relaxed.

“A giant among Italian entrepreneurs has left us,” said Gilberto Pichetto, Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

Tall and thin, he always insisted on being the first to try on his designs, many of which have been preserved in the textile factory his grandfather founded in the northern town of Biella in 1881.

“I always dressed the same person, myself,” he once said.

Born in 1930 in Biella, Cerruti dreamed of becoming a journalist.

But after the death of his father when he was 20 years old, he was forced to abandon his philosophy studies to take over the family textile factory.

In the 1960s, he met Giorgio Armani and hired him as a men’s fashion designer.

The duo had a profound impact on the fashion world, before Armani set off on his own with his own fashion house in 1975.

Cerruti opened its first boutique in Paris in 1967, launching its luxury brand into worldwide fame.

“Clothes only exist when someone puts them on. I would like these clothes to continue to live, to be imbued with life,” he said.

As French students demonstrated in 1968, he revolutionized fashion by asking male and female models to parade in the same clothes.

“Pants gave freedom to women,” said the designer who, in the 1970s, created his first line of women’s clothing.

The man nicknamed the “philosopher of clothing” has dressed American actors Richard Gere and Robert Redford as well as French star Jean-Paul Belmondo.

He also made appearances in the Hollywood films “Cannes Man” (1996) and “Holy Man” (1998).

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