Some of the biggest names in fashion yesterday paid tribute to the founder of the Joseph label, Joseph Ettedgui, who has died from cancer, aged 74.

Miucca Prada said "his shops are among the most beautiful in the world" and Christian Lacroix said "he is perhaps the only one to have [successfully combined] hard-nosed business and avant-garde art". John Richmond described him as "the creator of modern retail", and Azzedine Alaia said Ettedgui took risks "when others are giving up", adding: "If everyone were like him, fashion would be saved."

Ettedgui, the son of a French-Moroccan furniture retailer, came to London from Casablanca in 1960. He established Joseph in 1972 and opened more than 20 shops in England, France, Germany and the US. He sold the label nearly five years ago for a reported £23.8m but a spokeswoman for the label said his influence was still felt.

Yesterday the Joseph website bore the simple tribute "Joseph Ettedgui 1936-2010".

Ettedgui's younger brother Maurice told the fashion website WWD the pair, with their brother Franklin, "were the three musketeers": "We worked together all our lives. I'll remember Joseph for his kindness, his generosity, and his vision. He could see things before anyone else. He was a remarkable man."

A private memorial service will take place for him in London on Sunday.