The pioneering Italian fashion designer Laura Biagiotti, who boldly marketed her signature cashmere clothing in the Far East, has passed away in Rome.
Laura Biagiotti, founder of one of Italy's largest fashion empires, died early on Friday following a heart attack, the AGI agency said.
The Biagiotti brand is best known for its fine knitwear and loose clothes, as well as perfumes, accessories and watches. At its peak, the label was said to use 50,000 kilos (110,000 pounds) of cashmere each year to make its renowned fine wool garments.
The "New York Times" soon dubbed Biagiotti the "Queen of Cashmere."
Biagiotti made a special effort to market her cashmere creations in relatively isolated China and the former Soviet Union, having staged fashion shows in the formerly staunch communist countries in the late 1980s and 1990s.
In a 2015 interview to mark her 50 years in the industry, Biagiotti said that fashion could play a role in changing societies.
"In China, in 1988, we understood that after so many years during which clothing had united, unified women and men, they all wanted to express their own individuality," she told the business newspaper "Il Sole 24 Ore."
Meanwhile, the release of her Roma perfume line in 1988 brought her heightened international fame.
Born in 1943, Biagiotti began her career in 1965 when she helped her mother Delia start a dressmaking business in Rome after having designed uniforms for Alitalia airline crews.
She launched her first collection in Florence in 1972, and along with a group of other designers such as Ottavio Missoni and Gianfranco Ferre, helped move Italy's fashion capital from Florence to Milan.
Since 1980, she had lived and worked in a restored 11th-century castle near Rome, and was known in Italy as a strong supporter of the arts. Her daughter Lavinia is the vice-president of the Biagiotti group.
sb/kbm (AFP, dpa)