BARCELONA (AFP) - Catalan designer Antonio Miro, a Spanish fashion legend whose models included undocumented migrants and prisoners, has died aged 74, the country's culture minister said on Thursday (Feb 3).
"May the earth rest on you lightly," tweeted Spanish Culture Minister Miquel Iceta, referring to Miro as "an icon of Catalan fashion".
Catalan regional leader Pere Aragones, also on Twitter, said he was "saddened by the death of Toni Miro, one of the great names of Catalan fashion".
Born in 1947 in Sabadell near the Mediterranean city of Barcelona to a father who was a tailor, Miro opened his first shop in the 1960s when he was just 20, his original designs quickly setting him apart from his peers.
In 1976, he launched his own brand of clothes with clear Mediterranean influences, which he would later take onto catwalks in Paris, Tokyo and New York.
He created the costumes used in the ceremonies at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and designed uniforms for Catalonia's regional police.
But Miro also courted controversy with some of his shows.
In 2007, he used eight undocumented migrants from Senegal to showcase his winter collection on the catwalk in Barcelona.
He found them through a local support group, and said it was his way of trying to help them, local media reported at the time.
A year earlier, he had also featured prisoners on the catwalk.
A regular for years on the catwalks of Madrid and Barcelona, Miro won a string of awards, including the Cristobal Balenciaga national fashion prize in 1987.
"A Barcelona native at heart, creative, groundbreaking, an inspiration for many generations, for the Barcelona brand, who inspired a way of being and dressing," said Jaume Collboni, Barcelona's deputy mayor.
"Without his legacy, you can't talk about fashion in Barcelona."