Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Liz Claiborne passes away at 78

Chain Store Age

Fashion designer Liz Claiborne has died, the company she founded said Wednesday. She was 78.

Claiborne died Tuesday after suffering from cancer for a number of years, said Gwen Satterfield, personal assistant to Claiborne.

Claiborne founded Liz Claiborne Inc. in 1976 along with her husband Art Ortenberg and Leonard Boxer. Their aim was to create a collection of fashions aimed at the growing number of women entering the work force.

The clothes became an instant hit, and the company went public in 1981. By 1985, Liz Claiborne Inc. was the first company founded by a woman to be listed in the Fortune 500, according to the company's Web site. The company, whose brands now include Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman and Juicy Couture, generated sales of almost $5 billion last year.

Liz Claiborne retired from day-to-day operations in 1989.

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