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Fashion Designers who died too young - What might have been

Posted on 26 June 2014

L'Wren Scott
L'Wren Scott

 

The fashion world lost a beloved designer this year - L'Wren Scott.  

 

 

I wrote a blog post a couple of days after her death was announced and felt so sad that we would never be able to see what could have been.  The life she might have lived, the clothing she might have envisioned and given to the world.

 

L'Wren Scott April 28, 1964 – March 17, 2014
L'Wren Scott April 28, 1964 – March 17, 2014

 

"Women of every age and size really just want to look sexy, while retaining their power and dignity."    L'Wren Scott

I've been thinking a lot about all of the fashion designers who died much too young and what might have been if life had given them more time.  

 

Ossie Clark  June 9, 1942 – August 6, 1996
Ossie Clark  June 9, 1942 – August 6, 1996

 

Ossie Clark, the 60's and 70's iconic British fashion designer was stabbed to death at age 54.

 

Jane Birkin wearing Ossie Clark
Jane Birkin wearing Ossie Clark

 

"Comfort,That is the most important thing". Ossie Clark

 

Perry Ellis March 3, 1940 – May 30, 1986
Perry Ellis March 3, 1940 – May 30, 1986

 

One of the victims of the tragic AIDS epidemic of the 1980's, Coty award winning designer Perry Ellis died at age 46.

 

“I think fashion dies when it is taken too seriously.” —Perry Ellis 
Gianni Versace December 2, 1946 –July 15, 1997
Gianni Versace December 2, 1946 –July 15, 1997

 

Linda Evangelista in Versace 1991
Linda Evangelista in Versace 1991

 

Gianni Versace was brutally shot dead on 15 July 1997, at the age of 50.

 

"I really want to make clothes that are feminine and help women look beautiful." Gianni Versace
Patrick Kelly  September 24, 1954 – January 1, 1990
Patrick Kelly  September 24, 1954 – January 1, 1990

 

Patrick Kelly Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Patrick Kelly Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

The talented Patrick Kelly, who I also wrote about on my blog, was another senseless victim of AIDS at the young age of 35.

 

Patrick Kelly leopard bustier and skirt from dressingvintage.com
Patrick Kelly leopard bustier and skirt from dressingvintage.com

 

“I want my clothes to make you smile" Patrick Kelly
Willi Smith February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987
Willi Smith February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987

 

Willi Wear Willi Smith Vogue March-1982 Rick Strauss photograph
Willi Wear Willi Smith Vogue March-1982 Rick Strauss photograph

The successful designer Willi Smith died at the age of 39 from complications from AIDS.

 

Willi Smith with his sister Toukie Willi Smith with his sister Toukie
"I don't design clothes for the Queen, but for the people who wave at her as she goes by."    Willi Smith
Roy Halston Frowick April 23, 1932 – March 26, 1990
Roy Halston Frowick April 23, 1932 – March 26, 1990

 

Beverly Johnson in Halston
Beverly Johnson in Halston

The incomparable Roy Halston Frowick , known as Halston to the fashion world, died on March 26, 1990 after a long battle with AIDS. He was 57 years old.

 

Pat Cleveland in Halston  Dress
Pat Cleveland in Halston Dress
"You are only as good as the people you dress."
Roy Halston

 

Stephen Sprouse September 12, 1953 – March 4, 2004
Stephen Sprouse September 12, 1953 – March 4, 2004

 

Steven Meisel photograph in Vogue March 1988-Stephen Sprouse.
Steven Meisel photograph in Vogue March 1988-Stephen Sprouse.

 

 

Stephen Sprouse died of heart failure at the age of 50.

Stephen Sprouse photograph by Patrick-Demarchelier  Vogue UK March-1985.
Stephen Sprouse photograph by Patrick-Demarchelier  Vogue UK March-1985
"Maybe if they all could he combined - art, rock and fashion. Those were always my favorite things."
Stephen Sprouse
Alexander McQueen  March 17, 1969 – February 11, 2010
Alexander McQueen  March 17, 1969 – February 11, 2010

 

Alexander McQeen dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alexander McQeen dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

The brilliant Alexander McQueen died of suicide at the age of 40.

 

"I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress."
Alexander McQueen

This list is only a small sample of the fashion talent that was cut short before we could see what might have been. Though these 9 fashion designers died younger than expected, their incredible legacies will hopefully be appreciated and honored for generations to come. As long as we remember them, we will be playing an integral part in preserving their well deserved places in fashion history.

RIP.

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