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“Queen of Cashmere” dead at 73

May 28, 2017

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Laura Biagiotti, an Italian fashion designer whose popular flowing women’s clothes and luxurious knits that won her the nickname “Queen of Cashmere,” died on Friday following a heart attack. She was 73. Her daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, announced her mother’s death on Twitter, conveying the news with a Biblical passage: “In the house of my father there are many places. If not, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.”

Biagiotti began designing women’s clothes in the 1960s and by the 1980s had developed a following. Her 1988 fashion show in China, followed by a 1995 show inside the Kremlin walls in Moscow, were ground-breaking. She later expanded into men’s clothing, and created a plus-size women’s line and a line for children. Her company produced sunglasses and other accessories and perfumes, including the popular “Roma” fragrance, named after Biagiotti’s beloved home city.

Biagiotti’s early desire was to become an archaeologist, but she abandoned those plans to help her mother run a dressmaking business. Frequent travel abroad to learn business and technology preceded her presentation of the first Biagiotti collection in Florence in 1972. She claimed that “Being a fashion designer is like taking vows. It becomes your religion for life.” The designer resided in a medieval castle on a hilltop outside of Rome, which was also the headquarters for the Biagiotti business. It is presumed that her daughter Lavinia will continue to impact the fashion world as the creative director of her mother’s impressive empire.

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