Percy Savage, a public relations executive after whom the Dior fragrance Eau Sauvage was named, died in London Tuesday at the age of 81, according to Winston Cuthbert, a friend. Cuthbert did not disclose a cause of death.
This story first appeared in the August 19, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Savage served as Lanvin’s head of public relations in the Fifties and later worked at Nina Ricci. At Lanvin, Savage dressed several celebrities in designer clothes, including Elizabeth Taylor at a film premiere in Paris, resulting in unprecedented publicity for the house. He also dressed Jackie Kennedy in Nina Ricci for another Paris event.
In the late Sixties, the Australia-born Savage left Paris for London, where he set up Yves Saint Laurent’s London business with Clare Rendlesham. Savage also organized the London Collections in 1974, where designers including Zandra Rhodes, Bruce Oldfield and Vivienne Westwood showed together for the first time.
“He made people’s careers,” said Cuthbert, who directed “A Savage Life in Fashion,” a 2004 documentary about Savage’s career. “I don’t think you would have had London Fashion Week without his influence.”
Savage, as befitted someone in fashion, was a dandy who favored ascots, flamboyant jackets and, at times, eye-striking headgear. And he could live up to his surname if peeved or if he saw a collection he believed subpar, unleashing wittily barbed comments.
Cuthbert said that while Savage suffered from macular degeneration in his later years, his interest in fashion never faded. “He could still tell whether something was bias-cut or not,” said Cuthbert.