NEW YORK — Donald Brooks, who helped create the "American Look" in fashion in the Fifties and Sixties along with deisgners such as Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene, died Monday night at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was 77.

Brooks suffered a heart attack last month and had been hospitalized since then at the hospital in Long Island, N.Y., said his friend, Gerald Blum, former executive vice president of Lord & Taylor.

"He was known for being truly American," Blum said. "Everything was truly of his thinking..very easy, simple designs that have stood up to the test of time."

Of American fashion’s famous three ‘B’s, Brooks wasn’t as recognized for his impact on the fashion world, even though he was a powerhouse, running his own Seventh Avenue ready-to-wear business, also designing swimwear, lingerie, rainwear, furs, wigs, home furnishings and men’s wear.

In October 2003, Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, his alma mater, moved to rectify that omission with proper acknowledgement of "an unsung hero of American fashion."

The exhibit, "Donald Brooks: Designer For All Seasons," paid tribute to Brooks’ impact during that Hollywood moment of fashion at the cusp of the Sixties, when designers were making their way out of backrooms to be celebrated in their own right, designing glamorous starlet dresses and matching coats in crepe de chine and heavy black wool.

Brooks had come out of Parsons in the late Forties, worked for Lord & Taylor doing window displays and then took over for Claire McCardell designing Townley Frocks in 1958. He was among the founding members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1962, becoming a popular figure who won three Coty Awards in that decade and designed for Broadway and Hollywood productions.

Brooks designed under his own label from 1965 to 1973, the period around which the exhibit was largely centered. One gallery was dedicated to his eveningwear — a black dress made of tiers of wool crepe, a halter dress trimmed with braids of gold thread, a gunmetal ballgown skirt with sparkling beaded shell and a toga of thick black and white stripes that Cher once modeled in a Richard Avedon shoot for Vogue.

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