The Italian Almanac

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Mila Schon

Mila Schon

Milan said goodbye to Mila Schon, the designer whose simple and refined style was an emblem of her city. Addressing a funeral gathering which ncluded stylists Krizia and Elio Fiorucci, Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti said Schon, who died aged 91, had been ''the symbol of the elegance of our city''.

''This was true elegance, because it was informed by true culture, by passion for art and beauty,'' Moratti told mourners in San Babila church. ''She had tremendous class,'' Fiorucci said. ''She was the first in Italy to show a certain kind of taste. Milan owes her a lot. Her style never went out of fashion because it embodied true elegance, and she was an example of that herself''. Younger designers who worked under Schon remembered her fondly. ''She was our teacher,'' said Stefano Citron, now at GF Ferre'. Even when Schon was over 80 and the griffe had been sold to Itochu of Japan, he recalled, ''she was always there on the job''.

Schon, whose clients included Jackie Kennedy, the Rockefellers, the Agnellis and Italian singing superstar Mina, was born in then-Italian Dalmatia in 1917 - today part of Croatia. Her wealthy Italian aristocratic parents moved to Milan when she was a child. Inspired by French designers like Balenciaga, she started a small atelier in the late 1950s and went on to open boutiques in Milan, Los Angeles and Japan - now part of the Mariella Burani group.

Schon described her purpose in design as ''luxury without glitter''.