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The designer Elio Berhanyer dies

Elio Berhanyer, one of the biggest names in the world of design and fashion, has died today in Madrid at the age of 89. Born in Córdoba on February 20, 1929, in 2011 he received the National Prize for Fashion Design. Of parents and peasant grandparents, his real name is Elio Berenguer, but when he left home he decided to change his surname to Berhanyer's.

At the age of 17, Berhanyer, who never went to school and learned to read and write in an autodidactic way, settled in Madrid, where he began working as a window dresser in a hairdressing salon of Elisabeth Arden and later as a creator of theater costumes alongside Gustavo Pérez-Puig. His beginnings in the world of fashion were relatively late, with 27 years. In 1960 he opened his own sewing house in Madrid and presented his first collection. Three years later he signed his first contract in New York.

During the 60s and 70s he brought his haute couture collections all over the world, and in 1969 he began to design "pret a porter". In 1973 he successfully presented his first collection of "pret-a-porter", which was distributed in Europe, Japan and Australia, among other countries.

Their collections are marked by a personal stamp of austere lines, serene elegance and classic modernity , and have illustrated the pages of prestigious magazines such as Vogue. He paraded for the first time at the Cibeles Catwalk in 1994, with a collection of atypical fabrics, perfect cut and great finish. Since then he has been a regular at the Madrid show, at the Cibeles Catwalk in September 2007 he presented his first collection for men.

In 1998 he was one of the creators, along with Angel Schlesser, Antonio Pernas, Devota & Lomba, Jesus del Pozo and Roberto Verino, of the Association of Fashion Creators of Spain. And in 2004 he was curator of the exhibition dedicated to Pertegaz at the Reina Sofía Art Center in Madrid.

In 2005 he presented at the Costume Museum a parade with forty of his most significant nuptial creations. Throughout her career, she has designed more than six hundred wedding dresses, highlighting those made for the Queen of Bulgaria, the Duchess of Rocheford or Meye Mayer.

Berhanyer also created the uniforms of the airline Iberia on four occasions (1972, 1976, 1980 and 1983), one on request and the others by public tender. In Brazil he even received the award for the best airline uniform in the world . He also designed the uniforms for the hostesses of the 1982 World Cup, the Casino de Madrid, the Banco Bilbao, the Spanish Radio and Television Choir, Transmediterránea and the Group 45 of the Spanish Air Force, commissioned by King Don Juan Carlos .

He has also collaborated with the world of theater . In 1954 he created the costumes of the first work represented in the Corral de Comedias de Almagro, "La Hidalga del Valle" by Calderón; and later made the costumes of works like "The emperor and the architect", by Fernando Arrabal, or "Rings for a lady" , by Antonio Gala. And he has designed jewelry. An example of this are the more than 40 pieces inspired by the Alhambra, which he designed in 1976 and which gave rise 30 years later to the exhibition "Joyas de la Alhambra".

In 2006 , the Elio Berhanyer Chair of the University of Córdoba was inaugurated. At the end of 2008, the exhibition "Elio Berhanyer, 50 years of fashion" was presented at the Costume Museum, consisting of a hundred dresses and a review of his career. In 2009, the year he turned 80, Berhanyer received a tribute at the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.

At the end of 2010, his workshop in Madrid closed due to the economic crisis, which prevented him from being in Cibeles in 2011. Madrid's catwalk dedicated, in 2012, a tribute to his long professional career with a retrospective of his creations, and in 2015 , also within the programming of the Fashion Week Madrid, the Costume Museum dedicated a tribute exhibition.

Throughout his career Elio Berhanyer has presented more than a hundred collections and more than 22,000 costumes. Hollywood actresses like Ava Gardner and Cyd Charisse wore their designs, in addition to Queen Sofia and aristocrats like the Duchess of Alba or the Countess of Romanones.

Between the prizes that it owns they appear the Cadillac to the best designer of the year of the United States (1960), the prize Isabella d'Este, that grants the Italian Government (1968), the Gold Medal to the Merit of the Fine Arts (2002), the Medal of Andalusia (2009) and the Cross of the Order of May 2, of the Community of Madrid (2009).

In October 2011 he was awarded the National Prize for Fashion Design, awarded by the Ministry of Culture and which is endowed with 30,000 euros. That year, in addition, Correos dedicated four stamps to him with his designs.

In February 2017 he received the Imagen de Andalucía Award in the category of Excellence, awarded by the newspaper La Razón; and on May 9 he was awarded the Fashion of the Community of Madrid prize. Also in 2017 she was a candidate for the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts. Elio Berhanyer is Doctor "Honoris Causa" by the University of Harvard (1974) and holder of a Chair with his name. EFE

Publicado: 23 01 2019
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