Italian Couturier Renato Balestra Dies Aged 98 – WWD
, 2022-11-26 22:55:35,
MILAN – Designer Renato Balestra, a doyen of Italian couture, died in Rome on Saturday, aged 98. A funeral service will be held in the Italian capital on Tuesday.
Balestra opened his first atelier in 1959 in Rome, where the company is still based, after an apprenticeship with Jole Veneziani and working for the likes of Emilio Schubert, Maria Antonelli and Sorelle Fontana.
Born into a family of architects and engineers, he stood out for his artistic spirit and was defined as the “painter of fashion.”
Known for his signature painterly embroidery and blend of different fabrics and transparencies, his name was associated with a distinctive color — Balestra blue.
His strong passion for cinema led him to design costumes for Ava Gardner in “The Barefoot Contessa” and “The Sun Also Rises;” for Gina Lollobrigida in “Beautiful but Dangerous;” for Sophia Loren in “Lucky to Be a Woman,” and for Candice Bergen in “The Adventurers,” among others. He became a favorite of movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Claudia Cardinale and Carroll Baker, to name a few.
Balestra designed exclusive collections for Isetan in Tokyo as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Foley’s, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor.
In 1970, he included men’s looks in a women’s fashion show — a pioneer in creating unisex collections on coed catwalks.
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