MILAN — Claudio Buziol, president of Fashion Box Group, which produces the Replay denim and sportswear brand, was found dead on Monday at his home in Asolo, Italy.

Buziol, 47, died of a heart attack, the company said.

Together with Adriano Goldschmied and Renzo Rosso, Buziol founded the Genius Group in 1978, which included the Replay and Diesel brands. In 1981, Buziol founded Fashion Box Group, taking control of the Replay brand.

“Claudio was the creative mind, I was the marketing man,” said Diesel chief Rosso. “He knew exactly what to do with a product.”

Although they had parted ways professionally, Rosso said the relationship with Buziol remained “fantastic” on a personal level. In particular, Rosso praised Buziol for completely changing the concept of shirts. “He was a genius and an innovator, creating treated shirts back in the Eighties, combining materials and prints,” said Rosso, who also noted that Buziol was a “very positive, fun person with a good sense of humor.”

Wicky Hassam, founder of Miss Sixty, said he was always struck by how “simple and humble” Buziol was. Hassam, a former retailer who used to buy Replay products, said that the “denim washes” were innovative and farsighted. “He was a hard worker, full of ideas and always ready to put himself to the test,” said Hassam.

Indeed, last year Buziol was excited about the launch of an experimental line called We-R-Replay.

“With We-R-Replay, it’s all about creativity — we want to forget about figures and budgets,” said Buziol at the time. “We experiment with materials, artisan craftsmanship and handicraft techniques, reelaborating applications, dyes and treatments.”

Buziol also was focused on restructuring his retail network in the U.S. and entirely renovated the New York store in 2003. In 2004, the group reported sales of 230 million euros, or $299 million at current exchange rates. Replay is available in more than 3,500 sales points around the world and the group counts 170 brand stores.

Marco Bortoletti, chief executive officer of the group, controls 10 percent of the company.

This story first appeared in the February 2, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Buziol is survived by his wife, Paola, and children Silvia and Giampaolo, aged 21 and 13, respectively. Silvia has not yet been involved in the company. The funeral will be held today in Montebelluna.