Menswear designer Michele Savoia, who created stylish clothing for movie stars, has died. He was 55.
“Savoia the Tailor” was last seen around 4 a.m. on Feb. 13, leaving Paris Hilton’s party at the Manhattan nightclub Marquee. He was reported missing on Saturday morning by his driver and his body was discovered Sunday afternoon in the icy Hudson River near his house boat.
Cause of death has not been determined, pending an autopsy.
Born in Hoboken, N.J., Savoia originally wanted to become a cartoonist for Disney. He switched gears after an art teacher he adored encouraged him to use his talent for something more serious, like fashion. Savoia’s father and grandfather also inspired him to become a fashion designer.
“My father ran night clubs, and my Sicilian grandfather was a master tailor, who landed in Hoboken from Ellis Island in 1933. Basically, my father taught me how to dress, and Popop taught me how to tailor,” Savoia told Fashion Daily Weekly in 2011.
Savoia graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in the 1970s. He trained under designer Bill Kaiserman, then launched the House of Savoia in 1984. The firm was soon dressing Hollywood stars like Matt Dillon, Robert DeNiro, Chris Noth and Mickey Rourke. Savoia created costumes for Broadway shows as well, including the revival of “Evita” and Nora Ephron’s posthumous play, “Lucky Guy.”
The self-proclaimed “bad boy of fashion” also designed nightclub interiors and owned two clubs — Fat Black Pussycat and The Cheetah Club — until the mid-1990s.
Outside of work, Savoia was an old-school New Yorker with a penchant for the art deco era. He liked to smoke, ride motorcycles, buy accessories on eBay, listen to Tony Bennett, watch crime films and get tattoos.
Savoia is survived by a daughter, Gabriella Rocco Savoia.
—Originally published in The Huffington Post.