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Passings : Mila Schoen

Luxury fashion designer in Italy

September 06, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mila Schoen, 91, a fashion designer who built her shop for custom-made women's clothes in Milan, Italy, into an international business for luxury design, died in her sleep Friday at her home in northern Italy, according to news reports.

Born Maria Carmen Nutrizio in Dalmatia, Croatia, she moved to Italy with her parents. She married, changed her last name to Schoen and opened her business in Milan in 1959. Her stark, sculptural clothes were inspired by Balenciaga, her favorite couture designer. Over time, she softened her look with delicate detailing and subtle ruffles.

Schoen opened her first boutique for women's ready-to-wear fashion in 1965 and added menswear the following year.

During the next two decades, she launched a lower-priced line for women, as well as perfume, swimwear and accessories lines. In the U.S., her label was carried in specialty stores and boutiques.

Schoen retired after her company was acquired by a Japanese conglomerate in 1993, but agreed to return as a consultant two years later and continued working until recent years. The company is now owned by the Italian fashion group Mariella Burani.

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