PARIS — Italian designer Francesco Smalto died Sunday at the age of 87 in Marrakech, the Smalto fashion house said.
This story first appeared in the April 7, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cause of death is being reported as a heart attack.
Smalto founded his men’s wear line in Paris in 1962. The designer’s signature styles included body-hugging silhouettes and cigarette-rolled shoulders.
Smalto left the company, which he sold, in 2001.
“His heritage is perpetuated by the tailors and employees of the house of which more than half, even today, worked directly under him and are honored to reproduce his techniques and attention to the smallest detail,” said the company.
Its current artistic director Youn Chong Bak was recruited and trained by Smalto.
“His compliments renewed for each collection and his simple words of encouragement at each meeting forged my respect for the master and the extraordinary person that he was,” Bak said.
Today, Smalto is carried in 210 sales points in the world and on the Web site smalto.com. The label became the official dresser of France’s soccer team in 2013. One year prior, the house was given the “living heritage” label, which the country’s ministry of economy, industry and employment set up to honor French companies with exceptional craft or industrial skills.
Smalto fashion has appeared on the silver screen, in movies such as “The Last Emperor” and “Grace of Monaco.”
The designer was born in Reggio, Italy, on Nov. 5, 1927.
His funeral service will take place on Friday at 2:30 p.m. CET at the Église Jean-Baptiste in Neuilly-sur-Seine.