Rome — Fernanda Gattinoni, a designer who contributed to building the image of Italian fashion, died Tuesday morning at the Umberto I hospital here after suffering heart failure. She was 96.
Gattinoni designed under her own label since the Forties, and was active in her namesake business until her death. In fact, she was adding the finishing touches to the wedding dress of Elisabeth De Balkany, the daughter of Maria Gabriella di Savoia, just before she died. Her business was mainly devoted to private clients, and Guillermo Mariotto will stay on as creative director.
Weddings and high-profile events were Gattinoni’s forte, but if the slightest detail were out of place, she instinctively made amends.
The guests that crowded St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican for the wedding between Princess Maria José of Belgium and Umberto di Savoia, the future King of Italy, were impressed when 10 minutes before the ceremony, Gattinoni tore the sleeves off the bride’s dress because they didn’t fit right.
Gattinoni believed in the "no guts, no glory" motto, which she proved by turning down Coco Chanel’s offer to join her Paris atelier in the Twenties, and went on to form her own house.
In the late 1940s, she moved into a 10,800-square-foot atelier here, where 120 seamstresses meticulously crafted elegant clothes. In the Fifties and Sixties, she designed film costumes, including Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe for "War and Peace," which earned her an Oscar nod for best Costume Designer.
In her heyday, the designer dressed celebrities the caliber of Kim Novak, Ava Gardner, Ingrid Bergman and Anna Magnani.
Gattinoni has no survivors. Her son, Raniero Gattinoni, also a designer, joined her in the mid-Eighties when the house expanded to include ready-to-wear clothes in its collections. He died in 1993. A funeral is slated for today at the S. Maria del Popolo church in Rome.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast