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Italian fashion designer Francesco Smalto dead at 87

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AFP
Published
today Apr 6, 2015
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From left to right: Francesco Smalto / blazer - 2010 - © Philippe Biancotto

Italian designer Francesco Smalto, who as one of the stars of the men's fashion industry clothed princes, heads of state and sporting icons, has died in Morocco aged 87.

The "creative visionary" provided men with "an allure and unique style" his fashion house said in a statement.

Smalto enjoyed a lengthy and successful career but his image took a tumble in 1995 when he admitted in court that he had provided call girls as well as suits to then Gabonese President, Omar Bongo.

For that he was handed a 15-month suspended sentence and a hefty fine.

Smalto was born on the southern Italian region of Calabria in 1927 and showed a precocious talent for "the cut and the fabric," creating his first outfit at the aged of 14 for a friend.

But it was in the fashion capital Paris that he dreamed of forging his career and his fashion house went on to provide the French football team with its formal suits for last year's world cup finals in Brazil.

His earlier years in the Paris fashion world saw apprenticeships at tailors such as Cristiani and Camps as well as with Harris in New York, who provided suits for President JK Kennedy.

In 1962 Smalto created his own brand. installing himself in a chic part of the French capital and rapidly building a reputation for clothes which were comfortable and yet "close to the body".

Among his celebrity clients was French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, crooner Charles Aznavour and King Hassan II of Morocco, the father of the current monarch.

Smalto retired in 2011, selling his business on to the Alliance Designers company.

Korean stylist Youn Chong Bak, who became the Smalto fashion houses' aartistic director in 2007 mourned the loss of "the master and an extraordinary person."

ot/dab/pgf/st/pvh/ach



Paris, April 6, 2015 (AFP)

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