Designer Audigier dies aged 57
Fashion designer Christian Audigier, who gained fame with his tattoo-inspired, street-wise designs for Ed Hardy and Von Dutch brands, has died aged 57.
French-born Audigier died at 3.45am at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Audigier had cancer, said his former publicist, Michele Elyzabeth, who first reported the death on her LATF style website.
Besides his colourful designs, the designer was known for his energetic promotion and for friendships with celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Madonna and the French singer Johnny Hallyday.
"My friend forever," Hallyday tweeted, in French. "I will miss you terribly. I love you."
Audigier was born in Avignon, France, and began working in fashion as early as age 14, Ms Elyzabeth said.
He moved to New York as a young man, where he worked for a number of labels.
But it was in Los Angeles where he achieved fame, first as a designer for Von Dutch, and then for the Ed Hardy brand, where Audigier's clothing played off the colourful designs of tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy.
"I believe people are going to go to street wear more than couture wear," Audigier said when presenting his Ed Hardy line at Los Angeles Fashion Week in 2008, where he displayed what he described as an homage to colour and '80s street style: sparkly, embroidered jeans, for example, and motifs of dragons, skulls and roses on bright backdrops.
Casual wear, the designer said then, could see a rise in a troubled economy.
"You can wear this with all the clothes you have," Audigier said.
He had a reputation for high-profile hobnobbing and shrewd marketing, getting the likes of Justin Timberlake and Paris Hilton to sport his trucker hats and other gear.
"I believe celebrities are the best driver for trends," Audigier told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. "The more they wear my stuff, the more it is going to be seen by the people."
In addition to Von Dutch and Ed Hardy, Audigier designed denim items for Levi's, Guess and a number of other clothing lines. But he had not actively designed for several years.