Christian Audigier, Controverisal Designer Behind Ed Hardy, Has Died

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Christian Audigier, who was the head designer at Ed Hardy, passed away yesterday at the age of 57 in Los Angeles. The man responsible for the look of the tattoo-inspired brand was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow and blood disease, in January. Audigier underwent chemotherapy prior to receiving a bone marrow transplant in March. The reported cause of death was cancer, according to WWD.

Audigier’s former Ed Hardy business partner, Regis Mijatovic, was shot and killed on June 8 while dining with ex-organized crime boss Giovanni Tagliamento on the French Riviera; the slaying was alleged to have been a Mafia attack.

Ed Hardy launched in 2004 with an array of rhinestone-studded T-shirts featuring designs by famed tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, who filed a $100 million lawsuit against Audigier in 2009 for manipulating his inked imagery and underreporting sales. A settlement was reached, and the tattoo artist went on to partner with another company to revive his business overseas, with a focus on Asia. Audigier was also sued in 2010 by Marc Jacobs for trademark infringement over a particular bag design.

The French designer had extensive experience in the denim industry, including stints at Levi’s, Guess, and Diesel, and also ran an eponymous line. Before launching Ed Hardy, Audigier spent three years as head designer at Von Dutch, best known for making the trucker hat happen in the early aughts. Audigier sold Ed Hardy to Iconix Brand Group in 2011 for $62 million.

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