LONDON — Murray Arbeid, the British designer known for crafting glamorous evening dresses for clients who ranged from Diana, Princess of Wales to Danielle Steele and Estée Lauder, died at his home in England late last month, at 76.
The London-born Arbeid trained at the London Institute of Fashion, and worked under British designers including Michael Sherard and Alice Edwards, before launching his own line during the Fifties. It was during the Eighties that he began to dress Diana, and he also became well known in the U.S. at the time for holding trunk shows at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, to introduce clients to his glitzy creations.
A soft-spoken man with a shy smile and obsession with craftsmanship and detail, Arbeid was part of the group of British eveningwear designers — that also included Victor Edelstein and Bruce Oldfield — that flourished in the Eighties as a result of their association with the Princess of Wales.
In 1985, the designer held one show on a Continental Airlines flight from London to Houston, telling the Chicago Tribune that the experience was “sort of like an army maneuver.”
Arbeid’s gowns were also among those sold in the 1997 charity auction of Diana’s dresses at Christie’s in London — they included a midnight blue silk tulle strapless dress, embellished with stars, which sold for nearly $50,000.
Arbeid went on to design for London’s House of Hartnell, before retiring to Suffolk in 1992. He is survived by his partner, milliner Frederick Fox, his brother Bertie, sister-in-law Judy and a niece and nephew.