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Rome fashion designer Sarli dies

Leading Rome fashion designer Fausto Sarli, who made dresses worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Monica Bellucci and Carla Bruni, died in hospital in the Italian capital on Thursday.

Sarli died surrounded by family and fashion colleagues, according to local media reports. His death was announced by long-time friend Alberto Terranova, who worked with Sarli for the past 20 years.

Born in Naples in 1927, Sarli began a career in business management before moving into fashion design.

He was renowned for using traditional artisan methods and following the rules of old fashioned couture.

In 1957 he presented his first collection in Florence, before starting his own atelier in Naples in 1958. Sarli opened a salon in Rome's prestigious Via Veneto a year later.

Sarli took his creations to Canada and the United States in 1965 and on to Japan in 1970. His minimalist, long-sleeved dresses also enjoyed great success in the Middle East.

The unveiling of Sarli's spring-summer 2010 collection was seen by many admirers as a "last homage" and the designs were received on the catwalk with a standing ovation and tears.