DIED. GEOFFREY BEENE, 77, one of America's most original fashion designers; of complications of pneumonia; in New York City. The Louisiana native first landed on Seventh Avenue in the 1950s and started his line in 1963, raising the standards of American design with technical innovations, sumptuous fabrics and minimalist creations whose streamlined silhouettes belied their complicated construction. He dressed numerous First Ladies and socialites, including Pat Nixon, Lady Bird Johnson and Gloria Vanderbilt, and was widely admired for his facility with cut and his uncompromising creative vision. He created the playful baby-doll dress in the 1960s and the sporty "Beene bag"...

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