UMBERTO GIANNINI, STYLIST, 33
BIRMINGHAM, England — British stylist Umberto Giannini died Thursday evening in Queen Elizabeth Hospital of complications resulting from a year-long bout with dermatomyositis, a rare viral disease that affects the muscles and the skin and strikes only one in 200,000 people. He was 33.
Giannini was better known in the U.K., where he owned nine upscale salons. He also operated two teaching academies, which drew students from around the world. In his British salons, he charged upward of $400 for a haircut.
He also marketed his own hair care collection in the mass market, selling through British chains like Boots, Sainsbury, Safeway and ASDA Wal-Mart.
He launched his business in the U.S. in October 1999. Giannini marketed three different hair care collections: Sleek and Chic features straightening products; Big and Beautiful is a volumizing collection, and Urgent Repair is designed to restore color-treated hair.
A fourth collection is said to be launched in the spring.
U.S. distribution consists of drugstore chains, like Walgreens, Rite Aide, CVS, Eckerd and Cosmetics Plus.
Two additional Giannini hair care collections are marketed in British hair salons, as well as sold in leading mass market outlets in the U.K. One is called Curl Friends and the other is Gunk, a seven-item line of styling products.
He is survived by his partner, Claire Shread, and their two sons.
A private ceremony will be held this week. A public memorial service will be held in London a month from now. Plans have not been completed.