Mila Schoen, an Italian designer of elegant, impeccably tailored clothes, died early Friday at her villa in northern Italy at the age of 91.
Her fashion house in Milan said Schoen died in her sleep at her country home near Alessandria.
Schoen began her career in 1958 working in an high-fashion atelier in Milan. Eight years later she opened her own boutique, on Milan's Via Montenapoleone, one of the city's most chic shopping streets.
Her designs were timeless expressions of quiet elegance, and led to her being dubbed the “Signora of elegance.” Her fashion house described her vision of clothes as one of “luxury without glitter.”
Milan's Palazzo Reale exhibition hall has been planning a retrospective of 50 years of Schoen's work, which will open soon.
Many of society's well-heeled women, in Italy and abroad, wore her creations, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Marella Agnelli, widow of Fiat auto patriarch Giovanni Agnelli. Schoen's smart suits and dresses, with careful attention to color and line, were popular choices for cocktail gatherings and garden parties.
Her designs were a favorite for La Scala opera house gala premieres among Milanese women enjoying the boom years of Italy's economy in the 1960s. In the age of jet-setters, Schoen designed a sharp-looking uniform, complete with sober-looking hats, for flight attendants for Alitalia, Italy's flagship airline.
As her career progressed, her creations grew more geometric, even futuristic looking, and were considered fashion world examples of cubism.
One of her designs made the model look as if she were snuggled inside a rosebud, with perfectly symmetrical petals of fabric.
The designer was born Maria Carmen Nutrizio in a town in Dalmatia, in what later would become mostly part of Croatia, in 1916.
In 1992, the Mila Schoen brand became the property of Itochu, a Japanese group which, in 2007, asked Brand Extension Srl to relaunch the company worldwide.
Schoen, a widow, is survived by a son, Giorgio, who lives in Milan.
Funeral plans were not immediately available.