French Designer Ted Lapidus Dies at 79
French fashion designer Ted Lapidus died this week from respitatory failure, a complication suffered as a result of leukemia, at the age of 79.
Lapidus made a name for himself throughout the 60's and 70's with his safari-hued military suits for women and well-fitted garments for men. He became renowned for his ability to apply haute couture concepts toward ready-to-wear clothing that was affordable for younger men and women.
After an apprenticeship with Dior, he started his own fashion house in 1951. In 1958 he opened the Ted Lapidus boutique on the Rue Marbeuf. In 1963, he created a near scandal in the world of haute couture by forming a partnership with the manufacturer Belle Jardinière, which mass-produced his designs and sold them at its 250 budget-priced stores in France. Regardless, that year he was admitted to the official French couture association.
Lapidus was one of the pioneers of the boutique, and opened his New York storefront right across from Bloomingdale's in the 70's. The designer was dubbed "the poet of French couture" and was popular among celebrities of the day, including Brigitte Bardot and The Beatles.
Paying homage to Lapidus, President Nicolas Sarkozy was moved to declare that the designer had "democratised French elegance and classicism" and "made fashion accessible to men and women in the street".