Laura Biagiotti was born August 4, 1943 and studied to become an archaeologist before entering her mother’s dressmaking business. She presented her first eponymous collection in 1972 and her brand quickly became one of the leading luxury lines that made Italian fashions famous in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for her cashmere knits and wool fashions, she also had a successful men’s line, sunglass brand and signature scent Roma, named for her home city.
Biagiotti lived in a restored medieval castle outside of Rome, which was also the headquarters for her business. The company was a pioneer in the now-established practice of fashion houses sponsoring the restoration of historic structures. In 1998, her company restored a staircase designed by Michelangelo that leads to the top of the Capitoline Hill, and more recently, Biagiotti contributed to the restoration of two 17th century fountains in front of Palazzo Farnese – home of the French Embassy in Rome.
Her husband, Gianni Cigna, who had also been her business partner, died in 1996, and her daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, has been working as the creative director of the fashion house since 2005. Laura Biagiotti died May 26 of a heart attack.