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Leo J. Narducci

June 24, 1932 — November 25, 2023

Leo J. Narducci

Fashion designer Leo Narducci passed away peacefully on November 25, 2023 following a short illness at the age of 91. He is survived by his loving husband Robert Ferrari and daughter, Lanie Diamond. He was the son of the late Leo Narducci Sr. and Mary (Ventresca) Narducci. He was the former partner of the late Edward Diamond.

In a career spanning over sixty years, Leo helped transform Young Designer fashion on Seventh Avenue with a timeless sensibility. A lover of jazz music, dance, theater and football, Leo’s greatest passion was designing. Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, Leo’s parents operated a garment factory where Leo claimed he “could sew before he could write his name”.  Leo served as an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before attending Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to study Apparel Design. Graduating in 1960, Leo moved to New York City and began working for Arnold Shoenfeld at Loomtog's, Inc. before designing for the label Guy D. In 1965, he won the prestigious Coty Fashion Award. After meeting fashion entrepreneur Ben Shaw in 1967, Leo launched his own label, Narducci, Inc., a division of Geoffrey Beene, Inc.

Editors of Women’s Wear Daily, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Glamour, and Mademoiselle championed Leo as a rising star of the Young American designers revolutionizing American sportswear. A favorite of many celebrities of the stage and screen, his fashions were regularly featured in the Fifth Avenue windows of Henri Bendel and Lord & Taylor and national publications. Always seeking new ways of creating, Leo launched his own jewelry line, became one of the first designers to license designs in Vogue Patterns, designed for The Joffrey Ballet, and reimagined uniforms for several national companies. His designs are held in multiple private collections and museums, including the RISD Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

However, Leo’s favorite thing in the world was mentoring young and emerging designers. Leo returned to Providence, RI, serving as a Critic in the RISD Apparel Department and inspired countless young artists and designers. Working closely with Jill Carey, Professor of Fashion + Curator, Leo made extensive donations to Lasell University’s Fashion Collection promoting fashion education and was honored in March 2023 by Lasell University for his lifetime achievements in the arts. In Leo’s own words: “For a designer, if you're creative you don’t stop, you keep moving. It’s a gift – something that exists in your heart, as well as your mind. I feel fortunate to have lived my life creating.”

At the time of his passing, Leo had completed a memoir and was working on several projects including a fashion book and a documentary film. His love for life was unparalleled and his legacy lives on. A celebration of Leo Narducci’s life is being planned for sometime in the new year. Services will be private.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leo J. Narducci, please visit our flower store.

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