NEW YORK — John Weitz, fashion designer, novelist, historian and a pioneer of brand licensing, died late Thursday at his home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. He was 79.

One of the first American designers to explore his brand’s potential across multiple retail categories, Weitz started licensing his name in the Fifties. He put his name on categories like men’s fragrances, socks and neckties. He also made a name for himself with the nowadays unthinkable ad slogans such as "John Weitz designs for the woman who wishes her husband could afford her."

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