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Life after death Christa de Carouge hoped her creations would outlive her

A look back at the creative achievements of Christa de Carouge, one of Switzerland's best-known fashion designers, who died this week aged 81. (SRF/ 

The Basel native was one of the few names in Swiss fashion known abroad. She had been suffering from cancer and died suddenly. 

She presented her first solo fashion collection in 1983. It was the first completely black collection ever shown in Switzerland, and the theatrical presentation helped de Carouge position herself in the fashion spotlight. 

Her style is radical and immediately recognisable: mostly black clothes with geometric lines, in cotton and in Japanese silks. The lines are minimalist, ample, and sober, inspired by early Bauhaus graphic designs and nomads she saw on her travels. 

Born Christa Furrer in 1936, she changed her last name to reflect her favourite Geneva neighbourhood, where she lived for about 40 years. Together with her husband, she ran the Monsieur Rudi boutique, which introduced miniskirts to Geneva. After her divorce, she created her own studio, and developed her philosophy of clothes that people could feel at home in, which didn't wrinkle, but provided cover and comfort. 

Christa left Carouge about 15 years ago to return to live in Zurich, where she continued to make clothes, but planned to stop sewing to devote herself to drawing — her first passion. She was scheduled to give a lecture at the end of the month at the Kunsthaus in Zug, where a retrospective of her work is currently on show until 18 February.

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