The famous Italian designer Nino Cerruti died at the age of 91, AFP learned on Saturday evening from a source in the fashion sector, Saturday January 15, confirming the announcement by the Italian media. His death took place in a hospital in Vercelli, in Piedmont (north-west) where he was for a hip operation, according to the site of Corriere della Sera (in Italian). “It’s a giant among Italian entrepreneurs who is leaving”, reacted the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Gilberto Pichetto. “A great innovator, a creative visionary and precursor of many realities of today”, said of him Carlo Capasa, president of the National Chamber of Italian fashion.
Born September 25, 1930 in Biella, he was forced to abandon his philosophy studies at the age of 20, after the death of his father Silvio, to take over the family textile factory and thus bury his dream of become a journalist. Nino Cerruti was the most French of Italian fashion designers when he opened his first boutique in 1967 in Paris, Place de la Madeleine, the starting point of a luxury brand that quickly became global.
In the midst of a student protest in 1968, this heir to the textile industry brought his own revolution to the catwalks by parading men and women in the same clothes. In the 1960s, he also met a certain Giorgio Armani, four years his junior, and hired him as a men’s designer. The duo, which had a profound impact on the fashion world, separated a decade later, after Armani decided to found his own house in 1975.
Nino Cerruti introduced “casual chic” to high-end men’s fashion by inventing the first deconstructed jacket in the 1970s. He was then a master of casual refinement, but felt that the term “elegance” at “a terrible taste of the old”, preferring the concept of “style”, mix of “culture and [d’]art”i. In the mid-1970s, he had created his first women’s collections which, twenty years later, would represent 20% of the group’s turnover. Little by little, he had widened his territory, by launching into perfumes, watches, shoes or even jewellery.
Among his many activities, Nino Cerruti, named Chevalier du travail, was also the official designer of the Ferrari Formula 1 team. Dn a context of fierce competition between the major luxury groups, which leaves little room for independent fashion houses, the designer sold his brand “Cerruti 1881” in 2001 to Italian investors. The Cerruti brand was then sold to the American investment fund MatlinPatterson, before ending up in Chinese hands in 2011, with its sale to the Trinity group.