Fashion designer 'Joseph' dies

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010
Joseph: Fashion designer Joseph Ettedgui came to London from Morocco

Joseph: Fashion designer Joseph Ettedgui came to London from Morocco

The “Joseph” who brought high fashion to the high street, Joseph Ettedgu, has died aged 74.

Mr Ettedgui, from a French-Moroccan Jewish family, arrived in Britain in 1960 as Morocco gained independence and Jewish families left the country in droves for France or Israel.

But Mr Ettedgui “fell in love with London” and set up a hairdressing salon on the King’s Road.

He told the JC in an interview in 1989: “I really wanted to be an architect but I'm terribly impatient. I decided to take a course in hairdressing and I loved it; I loved the way you could transform someone in two hours.”

He began turning his salon into a boutique, choosing clothes to display in the window. His Joseph stores would go on to stock the hottest names in fashion, from Gucci and Prada to Alexander McQueen and Kenzo.

He sold the business in 2005 for a reported £23.8m but remained creative director for a while afterwards. Credited with introducing black as a fashion staple, Mr Ettedgui was rarely seen in anything other than a chic black ensemble.

Defending his high fashion at high prices, Mr Ettedgui told the JC he hated the new “fast-food fashion” seen on the high street.

“What I love is to sell someone an item that they will wear and wear and wear, that goes with everything in their wardrobe.

"Now people are very spontaneous — when they see something, they want to have it straight away. We live today with so much temptation — it's strange, even though there's a fashion recession people still go out and buy clothes to make themselves feel better."

Mr Ettedgui is believed to have died from cancer. The funeral took place on Sunday He is survived by his two brothers, Maurice and Franklin, his wife Isabel and their daughter, and two children from a previous marriage.

Last updated: 10:30am, March 22 2010