Arnold Scaasi, celebrity gown designer, dies age 85

Canadian designer Arnold Scaasi, famed for his custom gowns produced for celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor, died Tuesday of a cardiac arrest in a New York hospital, aged 85.

Scaasi was head of a long-running atelier in Manhattan and was known for bringing French couture style to American women. He dressed celebrities including Mary Tyler Moore and Ivana Trump, as well as first ladies Barbara Bush, Mamie Eisenhower, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.

He worked briefly under Charles James before setting out on his own in 1956. Two years later, he won the Coty Award for greatest achievement in creative design by an America.

His success in the US was built on dressing women for formal occasions. He also did ready-to-wear and introduced licenses across accessories, menswear and fragrance, but made-to-order was always the centre of his business.

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