Pret-a-Reporter

Designer Arnold Scaasi Dead at 85

Gregory Pace/BEImages/RexUSA
Arnold Scaasi in 2007

The designer, known for dressing six First Ladies and a slew of '60s celebrities, died of cardiac arrest.

Designer Arnold Scaasi died Tuesday of cardiac arrest, WWD reports. He was 85.

Born Arnold Isaacs (he coined Scaasi, the reverse of his surname, in 1955), the Canadian designer made a name for himself by dressing some of America's favorite women — specifically the First Ladies. Mamie Eisenhower, Lady Bird JohnsonJackie O, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush were among the White House-dwellers who donned his designs. Barbara Bush was a particularly big fan, and the inaugural ball gown he designed for her in 1989 is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum.

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Scaasi also had a hand in dressing the '60s and '70s Hollywood scene, outfitting the likes of Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall and Mary Tyler Moore. Barbra Streisand memorably wore one of his designs — a glittering, sheer black pantsuit — when she accepted her Oscar for best actress in 1969.

In 2009, Scaasi donated over 100 of his garments, including Streisand's memorable ensemble, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Of the donating the sparkling creation he noted, "I was afraid it would wind up in a vault somewhere, and it would never be seen."

He is survived by his husband, Parker Ladd.

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