10 Tragic Fashion Deaths in History


Murder, suicide and untimely deaths have sadly all played a part in the fashion world and the history of some of its most legendary designers. Read more about the tragic fashion deaths of Gianni Versace, Ossie Clark and many others.

Christian Dior

Fred Ramage / Stringer/Getty Images

French fashion designer Christian Dior died from a heart attack in Italy in 1957. There have been several takes on the cause of the 54-year-old’s death: the cause of his heart attack has been attributed to choking on a fish bone, a game of cards and having strenuous sex. Dior revolutionized women’s fashion after WWII with his “New Look” which created a voluptuous, curvy silhouette. Dior’s assistant, Yves Saint Laurent, took over after the designer’s death and the house of Dior still continues strongly today.

Gianni Versace

Italian fashion designers Gianni (1946 – 1997) and Donatella Versace circa 1996.
Rose Hartman/ Archive Photos/ Getty Images

Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997. The murder took place in front of the 50-year-old Versace’s mansion, Casa Casuarina, in South Beach, Florida. Versace had spent almost 2 decades in the fashion world and was known for his over-the-top designs like his bondage dresses. His clients (and friends) included everyone from Madonna to Princess Diana. The Versace label continues today with sister Donatella at the helm.

Ossie Clark

Evening Standard / Stringer/Getty Images

Ossie Clark, a 54-year-old British fashion designer, was stabbed to death by a former lover in 1996. Clark was famous in the ’60s and ’70s when clients like Mick and Bianca Jagger wore his designs. Clark’s designs encompassed a wide variety of looks, including great prints, jumpsuits and paper dresses.

Gianpaolo Tarabini Castellani

Gianopaolo Tarabini Castellani, — co-founder of Italian fashion house Blumarine — was trampled to death by an elephant while on safari in Africa in 2006. Tarabini, who co-founded Blumarine in 1977 with designer wife Anna Molinari, was 67. The Blumarine line is aimed at young luxury customers.

Isabella Blow

Isabella Blow and Kala Otto at the amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS Venice in 2004.
J. Vespa/ WireImage/ Getty Images

Isabella Blow, a 48-year-old English editor and style icon, committed suicide in 2007 after numerous attempts. Blow achieved icon status by her ability to spot and nurture young designers like Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, whom she forged a longtime collaboration ​by wearing his memorable hats. Blow suffered from ovarian cancer and bipolar disorder.

Helmut Newton

German-Australian photographer Helmut Newton (1920 – 2004) at Christie’s in front of his photograph of Elsa Peretti, New York City, USA, 1998.
Rose Hartman/ Archive Photos/ Getty Images

Photographer Helmut Newton was 83 when he crashed his car in 2004 into a wall near the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles. The German-born photographer was best known for his trailblazing, hard-edged fashion photography.

Rudolph Moshammer

Sixty-four-year-old German fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer was found dead in his Munich home in 2005. An Iraqi man later confessed to killing the designer. Moshammer created extravagant and luxurious menswear for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Siegfried and Roy.

Christa Worthington

Fashion writer Christa Worthington, 46, was murdered on Cape Cod, Mass. in 2002 by the garbage collector. Worthington wrote for Women’s Wear Daily, Elle and other fashion publications.

Ruslana Korshunova

Ruslana Korshunova modeling during the Kai Kuhne Spring 2006 runway show.
Carlo Buscemi/ WireImage/ Getty Images

Twenty-one-year-old Russian model, Ruslana Korshunova, jumped to her death from her Manhattan apartment in 2008. Korshunova appeared on the covers of French Elle and Russian Vogue and in ads for major designers like Marc Jacobs.

Madame Gres

The Rose Archive, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The tragedy of Madame Gres’ (Germaine Emilie Krebs) death at 89 in 1993 was that her daughter concealed it from the public for a year, in an attempt to spite the fashion world she thought had let her down. Madame Gres, a French designer, gained popularity in the 1930s with her couture gowns and had a long career with masterfully designed bias-cut dresses and Grecian gowns. Her hallmark was an angora jersey turban that she wore.

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