Designer Geoffrey Beene dead at 77

American fashion designer Geoffrey Beene, whose simple designs made him a department store favorite for decades, died on Tuesday at his Manhattan home. He was 77. Russell Nardozza, vice president of Geoffrey Beene Inc., said the designer died of complications from pneumonia. Beene, who first drew plaudits in the late 1960s with an evening dress in the style of a football jersey, was born in Haynesville, La. He studied medicine at Tulane University before deciding that fashion was his future. After World War II he moved to New York City and then to Paris before returning to New York to work as a designer. He opened his own company in New York's garment district on Seventh Avenue in the early 1960s. "He was a designer's designer, one of the most artistic creators in the world of fashion and someone who was really admired by his peers," said fashion historian Valerie Steele, who is also director and chief curator of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He is survived by a sister, Barbara Ann Wellman, of Conroe, Texas.

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