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27 Nov

Couturier Renato Balestra Dies Aged 98

Renato Balestra

Couturier Renato Balestra

MILAN Designer Renato Balestra, a doyen of Italian couture, died in Rome on Saturday, aged 98. A funeral service shall be held within the Italian capital on Tuesday.

Balestra opened his first atelier in 1959 in Rome, where the corporate remains to be based, after an apprenticeship with Jole Veneziani and dealing for the likes of Emilio Schubert, Maria Antonelli and Sorelle Fontana.

Born right into a family of architects and engineers, he stood out for his artistic spirit and was defined because the “painter of fashion.”

Known for his signature painterly embroidery and mix of various fabrics and transparencies, his name was related to a particular color — Balestra blue.

His strong passion for cinema led him to design costumes for Ava Gardner in “The Barefoot Contessa” and “The Sun Also Rises;” for Gina Lollobrigida in “Beautiful but Dangerous;” for Sophia Loren in “Lucky to Be a Woman,” and for Candice Bergen in “The Adventurers,” amongst others. He became a favourite of movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Claudia Cardinale and Carroll Baker, to call a number of.

Balestra designed exclusive collections for Isetan in Tokyo in addition to Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Foley’s, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor.

In 1970, he included men’s looks in a women’s fashion show — a pioneer in creating unisex collections on coed catwalks.

A Renato Balestra look from the spring 1987 collectionimage courtesy of Balestra

His brand was relaunched earlier this yr with a recent course set by his granddaughter, Sofia Bertolli Balestra, with a primary ready-to-wear collection presented in February during Milan Fashion Week. Renamed simply Balestra, the brand revisits the hand-drawn version designed by the founder in 1971 and appears in his signature color.

Steering Balestra’s research, development and brand identity, Bertolli Balestra has been constructing the brand’s impressive archive, which incorporates over 40,000 sketches and drawings, a whole lot of gowns, videos and newspaper articles, and had been declared of historical interest by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities

The brand stays privately owned by the family, with the founder’s daughters Fabiana — Sofia’s mother — and Federica Balestra at the top of the style house.

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