PAOLO GUCCI DEAD AT 64
LONDON — Designer Paolo Gucci, once a director and shareholder in the Gucci luxury goods company, died here this week, according to his bankruptcy lawyer, Jonathan Flaxer.
Flaxer, who is based in New York, said Gucci died either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The cause of death was heart and kidney failure, he said. Gucci was 64.
Gucci’s career had been troubled for many years. Last August, a warrant for his arrest was issued in the U.S., where law enforcement officials wanted him to justify his bankruptcy filing.
Gucci was also being sued by his ex-wife, Jenny Garwood, for allegedly failing to pay $505,600 in child support.
Paolo Gucci sold his final shares in the Gucci firm in 1987, but hadn’t been involved in the business since 1980, when he was ousted by other members of the family.
He was instrumental during the late Fifties and early Sixties in designing some of the lines that turned Gucci into an international brand. But, in the tempestuous family relations that characterized the company, his uncle Rudolfo, as head of design, wanted to take all the credit.
After he was dismissed from the company, Gucci spent $5 million suing his relations for breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
He later sued them over rights to his name when he tried to set up his own leather goods design company in the U.S. The company claimed a Paolo Gucci line would cause confusion and would infringe on its trademark. Paolo Gucci won the right to launch his own collection, but it never took off.