Gianfranco Ferré was an Italian designer who earned the nickname “the Architect of Fashion,” both for his designs and for his background as an Architect. Born in Legnano, Italy, Ferré earned an architecture degree at Politecnico di Milano, but began working almost immediately in the fashion industry. First an accessories designer, then later a designer of raincoats, Ferré branched out to women’s fashions with the formation of his own company, Baila, in 1974. His first signature women’s collection was shown in 1978, with a men’s collection following in 1982 and haute couture debuting in 1986. He was appointed Stylistic Director of Christian Dior in 1989, and split his time between Paris and his own fashion house in Milan. He would remain with Dior until 1997, when he returned to exclusively designing fashions under his own name.