By  on December 15, 2009

Linda Segal, a Houston designer known for her sexy separates and eye for detail, died at home last month after a 2 1/2-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56.

Her company, Linda Segal & Associates, will continue, said her daughter, Ashley Segal, who is national sales manager and began assuming design responsibilities about a year ago along with her mother’s design assistant, Linsay Scott.

The firm, which is co-owned by Bernard Gardner and Howard Klein of Los Angeles, sells to Dillard’s and hundreds of specialty stores and will post more than $3 million in sales this year, Segal said. Sales and design will remain based in Houston with production in Los Angeles.

Segal’s fashion celebrated femininity and reflected her positive outlook on life, often with a sense of humor. After earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Texas, Segal began her career as a fashion illustrator. She launched her fashion business in 1981 with a children’s line called Linda Segal for Ashley that was quickly picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue, her first account. In 1987, she changed the label into a line of sharply tailored women’s suits with artistic trims, such as geometric color blocking.

When the suit market dwindled, Segal formed the 10-year-old venture that continues today by focusing on colorful stretch date-night tops in novelty fabrics and prints with hardware and other trims and coordinating bottoms.

“She was unbelievably creative and could see any fabric trend and turn it into something that was incredibly unique,” her daughter said.

In addition to her daughter, Segal is survived by her husband, Steven, son, Marshall, mother, Ruth Gardner, and brothers Bruce and Scott Gardner.

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