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Designer Ted Lapidus Dies At 79

Story from guardian.co.uk
Photograph: Pierre Guillaud/AFP/Getty Images

Ted Lapidus, the 1960s fashion revolutionary whose accessible clothing earned him the epithet "designer of the street", has died on the French Riviera at the age of 79.

The Parisian couturier, who is credited with pioneering the hugely successful unisex look, had been suffering from leukaemia and succumbed to pulmonary complications yesterday at a hospital in Cannes.

In a tribute, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said Lapidus had "democratised French elegance and classicism" by making fashion available to ordinary men and women.

Lapidus's designs, beloved of French celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon, became famous in the 1960s when fashion was looking for a way of keeping up with the social changes sweeping Europe.

His quirky label, created in 1951 and now run by his son Olivier Lapidus, came to be defined by the clean lines of unisex and military clothing and, most of all, by his famoussandy-coloured safari suit.

"Ted was the first designer of the nouvelle vague [new wave]," Lapidus's sister, Rose Torrente-Mett, told Agence France-Presse. "The whole world knew him."

After becoming a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Paris's exclusive high-fashion club, in 1963, Lapidus soon diversified the business into accessories, which he believed had a more lucrative future.

A funeral service will be held for the designer on Friday. He will be buried in the rambling Père Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris alongside such greats as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Chopin.