MILAN — Gianpaolo Tarabini Castellani, co-founder of Blumarine, died Friday while on safari in Africa.

This story first appeared in the May 8, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The 67-year-old chief executive officer of Blufin, the parent company of Blumarine, Anna Molinari and Blugirl, was mortally crushed by an elephant while hunting in the Zambesi Valley in Zimbabwe.

Castellani was born in Carpi, a small town in northern Italy, where he lived with his longtime wife, Anna Molinari, who designs Blumarine. The couple lived between their historical palazzo in the heart of town and the country villa on the outskirts, where Tarabini kept the five Ferraris he had collected over the years.

Tarabini had left for his annual trip to Africa on April 28 and was due back on Tuesday. His daughter, Rossella Tarabini, the 38-year-old designer of the Anna Molinari label, left Saturday for Africa to bring her father’s body back to Italy. Tarabini’s son, Gianguido, who is licensing manager at the family-run firm, stayed home with his mother.

Tarabini and Molinari met when they were just 18 and their passion and strong relationship endured for nearly 40 years. In 1977, they launched Blumarine and held their first fashion show in Milan in 1981.

Tarabini was a well-known and respected businessman in Carpi and enjoyed the small city’s laid-back pace.

“His home and family came first and foremost, and even when he went to Japan on business, he made it a 24-hour deal,” said a company spokeswoman.

Blufin has grown over the years into a fashion group with 2005 retail sales of 1 billion euros, or about $1.27 billion, and a network of 55 namesake stores.

“We do luxury ready-to-wear for a restricted clientele and we intend to continue doing just that because if you produce millions of clothes, the quality will suffer,” Tarabini said in 2004.

Tarabini’s most recent undertakings, in tandem with his son, were the introduction of a Blumarine watch collection licensed to Global Watch Industries and a pair of signature bejewelled jeans that he designed for Blumarine stores.

A funeral date is pending. In addition to his wife and children, Tarabini is survived by two grandchildren.