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Obituary: Italian maverick designer Elio Fiorucci dies

Italian designer and retailer Elio Fiorucci has died in Milan, aged 80.

He founded the Fiorucci fashion label in Milan in 1967, admitting he was influenced by his regular visits to swinging London.

His sexy and kitsch style was often an amalgamation of 1950s Americana and British pop culture, while his logo was a cheeky interpretation of Renaissance artist Raphael’s two angels.

The genial and softly spoken Fiorucci, the son of a shoe shop owner, was a pioneer in the globalisation of fashion, bringing to a wide audience once-niche trends like Afghan coats and Brazilian thongs.

Stretch jeans and leopard prints became signature pieces, while his product range spread from clothing to a huge range of accessories and homewares.

During his career, he had shops on King’s Road, Chelsea, and in New York. The Milan flagship in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which included books, furniture and vintage pieces, was a blueprint for many modern lifestyle stores.

The brand’s reputation with the Studio 54 glitterati earned it a place in disco history when it was mentioned in Sister Sledge’s 1979 hit “He’s The Greatest Dancer”: ”He wears the finest clothes, the best designers, heaven knows… Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci…

The Fiorucci business had a chequered financial history and went into receivership in 1989. Over the next decade and a half it had a variety of investors and owners, including Benetton, the Japanese denim brand Edwin and the Italian casualwear group Carrera.

Various relaunches of its twee-glam handwriting came and went as trademark disputes complicated the picture. In 2003, after 36 years of trading, Fiorucci closed the doors to his Milan store.

The draw of the English capital continued throughout his career and he was seen in the aisles of Pure London in recent seasons.

The cause of his death has not been established.  

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