Nino Cerruti, designer who revolutionized men’s fashion, dies at 91

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Mr. Cerruti was born on September 25, 1930 in Biella to Silvio Cerruti and Silvia (Tomassini) Cerruti. He is survived by his long-time companion, Sibylla Jahr; a son, Julian, and a daughter, Silvia; his brothers Alberto and Attilio, and two grandsons. His marriages to Diana Gates and Chantal Dumont ended in divorce.

Blue-eyed and over six feet tall, Mr Cerruti has always been a dazzling figure, having skied and played tennis like a pro. (He made sportswear for these and other sports, and sponsored players like Jimmy Connors.) “He’s so gorgeous,” Elaine Kaufman, owner of Elaine’s, the celebrity cantina on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, told Margaret Muldoon, her longtime American publicist, whenever he visited her restaurant. , as Ms Muldoon recalled in a telephone interview.

Over the decades, Mr. Cerruti had many designers, including a young Giorgio Armani, who worked for Mr. Cerruti’s company in the 1960s. For a few years in the mid-1990s, Narciso Rodriguez was the lead designer and notably designed Carolyn Bessette’s pearl-hued silk crepe wedding dress for her wedding to John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1996.

In addition to men’s and women’s apparel, Mr. Cerruti’s company had numerous licensing deals that included accessories, fragrances and eyewear, and boutiques around the world.

“I like to describe my operation as a modern take on the artisanal bodegas of centuries ago,” Mr. Cerruti told Esquire magazine in 1987. “It’s important to know every link in the chain. I consider myself very close to the theory of industrial design: using modern technology to reach the market. It is a very modern challenge: the continuous harmonization between the rational or scientific world and the emotional or artistic world.

In 1994 he was the official designer of the Ferrari Formula 1 team. Among many accolades, Mr. Cerruti was named Cavaliere del Lavoro, or Knight of Labour, by the President of Italy, in 2000. The following year the brand was sold in a forced takeover to Fin.part, an Italian conglomerate, which had bought 51% of the company the previous year and paid $67 million for the remaining shares, Women’s Wear Daily reported at the time.

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