Elio Fiorucci, the man behind stretch jeans, was found dead at the age of 80 at his home in Milan on Monday morning, according to New York magazine’s fashion news portal, the Cut.
He started his Milan-based fashion label in 1967, churning out pieces initially inspired by ’60s mod fashion in London.
But what he is best known for are form-fitting stretch jeans. Fiorucci got the idea for the pants after a trip to Ibiza, the Spanish island now known as one of the party capitals of Europe. He was impressed with the way wet jeans fit a woman’s body better, the Cut says, and wanted to re-create the effect.
At the time of waifish models like Twiggy, Fiorucci introduced his stretch jean silhouette to show off women’s curves. Once the 1970s hit, his designs spread globally, and he opened a store in New York City on 59th Street. Famous patrons like Andy Warhol, Liz Taylor and Cher came to buy up his designs, while a 15-year-old Marc Jacobs used the store as a hangout, the Cut reports.
Even in post-9/11 New York, Fiorucci fashioned a lasting legacy. His shop, which moved downtown, eventually transformed into a place for Fiorucci to sponsor and inspire new artists, among them DJ and design duo Andrew Andrew, who used the shop to launch their careers.
Fiorucci’s New York shop eventually closed down in 2003 because of financial troubles, but his iconic leopard-printed Americana style remains the inspiration of many designers and fast fashion labels.