Beppe Modenese during the Fall/Winter Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 25, 2016. (Shutterstock/Eugenio Marongiu)
Beppe Modenese, who helped catapult Italy to the top of world fashion and who was nicknamed its "prime minister", has died, the head of the country's fashion industry said Sunday.
"Beppe Modenese contributed like no one else to the birth of the Italian fashion system and led... the affirmation of Milan as the capital of fashion," Carlo Capasa said in a statement.
"He was rightly called the prime minister of Italian fashion," said Capasa, who heads the National Chamber for Italian Fashion. "Today we lose... an icon."
The CNMI said Modenese died on Saturday aged 90.
Modenese devoted his early career to organizing standout fashion events, including a historic 1952 catwalk show at Florence's Pitti Palace featuring Roberto Capucci and Emilio Pucci among other top designers.
In 1953, he was involved in the brand new Alta Moda trade union founded by Roman designers including the Fontana sisters, Vincenzo Ferdinandi, Emilio Schuberth and Alberto Fabiani.
Alta Moda would later become the CNMI, which Modenese headed for many years.
Modenese founded MODIT, a regulatory body for Milan fashion, in 1978.
Italy's former prime minister Matteo Renzi paid homage to Modenese in a tweet, calling him a "gentleman who taught me the fundamental importance of fashion... to the Italian economy and culture."
Vogue Italia also took to Twitter, saying: "The ascent and affirmation of Made in Italy in the world owe him a great deal."
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