Renowned French Fashion Icon Claude Montana Passes Away at 76

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.24 - 2024 10:08 AM CET

Renowned French Fashion Icon Claude Montana Passes Away at 76.

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The fashion world mourns the loss of one of its most visionary designers, Claude Montana, who died at the age of 76. The French news agency AFP reported his passing on Friday, February 23, noting that he died in his native city of Paris, as detailed by Women’s Wear Daily.

Claude Montana, a name synonymous with avant-garde fashion, made an indelible mark on the industry from the late 1970s through to the ‘90s. He was celebrated for his pioneering designs, sharing the stage with contemporaries like Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier. Montana's influence was particularly noted in leather fashion, a domain he dominated following his debut fashion show in 1976 and the establishment of his own brand, The House of Montana, in 1979. He also served as the creative force behind Lanvin couture between 1990 and 1992, with his label currently held by businessman Jean-Jacques Layani.

Montana's design ethos was characterized by a “power-woman” aesthetic, marked by vibrant colors, notably bright green, precise tailoring, and dramatic silhouettes that often featured padded shoulders and flared pants.

His creative vision captivated the likes of Helena Christensen, Tyra Banks, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista, serving as muses for his collections. Montana's personal life also made headlines with his marriage to supermodel Wallis Franken from 1993 until her tragic death in 1996.

Tributes from the fashion community reflect on Montana's legacy. Bruno Pavlovsky, president of the French fashion federation, praised Montana's work to WWD, stating,

“The work of Claude Montana embodied exceptional craftsmanship. His daring creations influenced a whole generation of designers.” He highlighted Montana's unique blend of sophistication and modernity as a lasting influence on contemporary fashion.

Pascal Morand, the organization’s executive president, lauded Montana as a visionary who consistently challenged the norms of fashion, redefining style and design beyond his era. “He challenged expectations and opened up new paths for creative expression,” Morand remarked, capturing the essence of Montana's contribution to the fashion world.

Claude Montana's passing signifies the end of an era but his legacy of innovation and creativity will continue to inspire future generations in the fashion industry.

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