19 March 2010

JOSEPH founder Joseph Ettedgui dies

Joseph Ettedgui

Sad news in the fashion world. Joseph Ettedgui, the charismatic, Moroccan-born owner of the Joseph boutiques passed away yesterday at the age of 74, after a battle  with cancer.
 
Originally training as a hairdresser in the 1950s, he left his native Casablanca to work in London. In the Sixties, he travelled to Paris for the Shows and met the Japanese designer Kenzo, and Ettedgui started to sell the designer’s jumpers in the basement of his hair salon on the Kings Road.
 
With a sharp eye for young modern designers, Ettedgui established his first clothing store in Chelsea in 1972, selling Kenzo, Emanuelle Khanh and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.
 
He launched his own line in 1983, starting with Joseph Tricot, a collection of chic knitwear - his ‘sloppy joe’ jumpers quickly became a must-have. The following year, tailoring was added, and Joseph’s incredibly flattering boot-cut stretch trousers became legendary, topping every stylish woman’s wishlist, (alongside a silk shirt by Equipment  - the cult French label that Joseph brought to the UK, which is about to be revived by the line’s original creator - Christian Restoin, husband of French Vogue Editor Carine Roitfeld).
 
Joseph was always quick to spot the next big thing – from Azzedine Alaia, to Miuccia Prada, Katherine Hamnett, and John Galliano - Joseph stocked them all. And as the chain expanded in the 1980s, to Paris, New York and Tokyo, Ettedgui championed an urban minimalism aesthetic with his stark white concrete and steel stores, and grainy black and white adverts. His restaurant Joe's Café, on the Kings Road was the coolest hangout on Kings Road, with lycra clad Sade-lookalikes perched at the steel tables.
 
He referred to his classic pieces as a supplement to the designers he stocked, saying ‘an entire wardrobe can't be made up of only designer clothes. People need good trousers and good shirts that they wear all the time.’
 
Ettedgui finally sold the Joseph stores in 2005.
 
A much-loved figure in the fashion world, Joseph’s impeccable taste will be sadly missed.

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