Zoran (designer)

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Zoran Ladicorbic

1947 (age 71–72)
AwardsCoty Award, 1982

Zoran Ladicorbic (born 1947), known as Zoran, is an American fashion designer who launched his business in 1976.[1] He is particularly known for extremely minimalist, understated garments following the American sportswear principle, in neutral colors (occasionally red, purple or blue) and high quality natural fabrics such as silk, linen and cashmere wool.[1][2][3] His clothes have been described as "Gap for the very rich",[4] and as "revolutionary" due to being designed without "built-in obsolescence".[5]

Early life[edit]

Born in the Banat in 1947, Zoran trained as an architect before migrating to the United States in 1972 where he worked in clothing retail and as an accessory designer for Scott Barrie before launching his label.[6] In 1983, Zoran stated that he considered himself an American.[3]


Zoran's first collection, produced in 1976, offered five simple, one-size-fits-all designs made in white or black crepe-de-chine; all he could afford at the time.[3] This collection, named "Five Easy Pieces", was sold through Henri Bendel, where it sold out quickly, leading to increasingly larger orders.[3][7] In 1982 Zoran offered some of his garments in cotton knit for summer, which enabled a wider range of customers to afford them, and also produced velour resort wear which could be worn both on the beach and for formal occasions.[8]

Zoran received his first Coty Award nomination in 1980,[9] but did not win until 1982, when he was awarded a Special Award for menswear separates.[10] He was also shortlisted for the Coty in 1983, but declined his nomination.[11]

By 1983 Zoran's name had become a byword for clothing that reflected his minimalist purity of line.[12] He was based in Greenwich Village, rather than in the Seventh Avenue, the focus of New York's garment industry.[3] Also in 1983, with the exception of Barneys, Zoran pulled his clothes from sale through the major American stores,[2] and opened his first shop in Washington D.C..[3] Whilst also selling clothes through the London boutique Browns, he also chose to focus on private clients such as Queen Noor of Jordan, Isabella Rossellini and Lauren Hutton.[2] By 1999, he was again selling through department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.[4]

In 1993, Zoran described his approach to fashion as "simplicity in fabric and way of cut. You cannot produce complicated clothes or spend 10 days making a dress. Mine is all done by scaling measurements. I use the body as the land, as when building a house."[2] Suzy Menkes described his work at the time as based on loose and easy fits, playing only with proportion, color and texture, such as lining chiffon with lamé, or pairing velvet with alpaca.[2]

Although his clothes were extremely expensive and the designer refused to allow them to be reduced in price, they consistently sold well.[1] In 1999, The New York Times noted that wholesale revenues of Zoran were probably around the $25 million mark; with profit margins equivalent to those of Armani.[4] Philip B. Miller, the then chairman of Saks, declared that Zoran was ranked "at the very top".[4]

While regularly referred to as "reclusive and recalcitrant",[2] and as someone maintaining a "low profile",[4] Zoran is noted for his strong opinions. In 1983 he declared that the only jewelry a woman should wear with his clothing should be her children or her husband.[3] In the same interview, when asked what designers he admired, alongside Coco Chanel, he declared Chairman Mao Zedong's wife, Jiang Qing "the ultimate designer, the designer of the century", for having helped create the uniform worn by a billion Chinese.[3] In 1993, he told Menkes, "Clothes should never touch the body," declaring that only prostitutes wore tight clothing.[2] Zoran's clients have recalled being advised not to wear make-up or painted toenails with his clothing, with Gloria Vanderbilt describing how when the designer saw her wearing an Armani suit at a book reading, he promptly covered her outfit with one of his own chiffon stoles.[13]

Zoran relied on the loyalty of his customer base and the high quality of his deliberately logo-free clothing for his success, notably avoiding publicity, advertising, and licensing deals for his name.[13] He rarely held fashion shows.[14] In the early 2000s he withdrew from traditional retail and as of 2014, is believed to currently work on a private basis for individual clients.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Staff writer. "Biography of Zoran". The Museum at FIT. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Menkes, Suzy (28 September 1993). "Simply Modern:Contrasting Looks at Luxury for the 1990s". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Morris, Bernardine (4 January 1983). "Zoran and Kamali: Success with the Offbeat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Horyn, Cathy (20 April 1999). "Reviews/Fashion; Zoran, the Master of Deluxe Minimalism, Still Provokes (page 1)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  5. ^ Morris, Bernardine (6 March 1984). "Two views of spring-summer fashions". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  6. ^ Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn, ed. (2002). Contemporary fashion (2 ed.). Detroit: St. James Press. p. 728. ISBN 9781558623484.
  7. ^ Nadelson, Reggie (30 March 2010). "Zoran Packs". Departures. Time Inc. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  8. ^ Staff writer (5 June 1980). "Coty Names Fashion Award Nominees". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  9. ^ Staff writer (24 May 1982). "People in the News: Fashion Designers". Kentucky New Era. New York Associated Press. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  10. ^ Monget, Karyn (28 July 1983). "Summer's High Style: Designers Hard at Work". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  11. ^ Buck, Genevieve (22 March 1983). "Is this the Year Dresses Come Back?". Toledo Blade. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b Horyn, Cathy (20 April 1999). "Reviews/Fashion; Zoran, the Master of Deluxe Minimalism, Still Provokes (page 2)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  13. ^ Givhan, Robin (11 September 2001). "The Where Of Womenswear; In New York, a Palette of Varied Venues". The Washington Post. via Highbeam (subscription required). Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  14. ^ Sherman, Lauren (8 November 2014). "10 Famous Fashion Designers Living in Obscurity". Yahoo! Style. Retrieved 2 March 2015. In the 2000s, Zoran retreated from traditional retailers, focusing on his private clientele instead. It's thought that he’s still designing for those devoted clients.