Departed

Designer Arnold Scaasi dies at 85

In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, designer Arnold Scaasi attends the New York premiere of "Sleuth" at the Paris Theater in New York.

In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, designer Arnold Scaasi attends the New York premiere of "Sleuth" at the Paris Theater in New York.  (AP)

Designer Arnold Scaasi, whose flamboyant creations adorned first ladies, movie stars and socialites, has died.

Scaasi died early Tuesday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of cardiac arrest, said his longtime friend, Michael Selleck, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Simon & Schuster. The designer was 85.

Scaasi — which was his given name, Isaacs, spelled backward — specialized in made-to-order clothes, often in ornate, brilliantly colored fabrics and trimmings like beads and ostrich feathers.

However, one of his most famous designs was a flimsy lace pantsuit designed for Barbra Streisand's Oscar appearance in 1969, when she won for "Funny Girl" in a tie with Katharine Hepburn. It featured bell-bottom pants and matching top in spangly black lace, and the thin fabric used created the impression of nudity.

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