Gernreich, Rudi (Rudolph) (gĕrnˈrĪkh) [key], 1922–85, American fashion designer, b. Vienna. In 1938, he fled to California, where he studied in Los Angeles. He worked as a dancer and costume designer before becoming a freelance designer. His signature style included ready-to-wear sportswear of dramatic stark cuts. He created a short-lived sensation with topless "Swiss cheese" bathing suits, which incorporated multiple cut-outs, and topless nightgowns. He made popular and inexpensive knitwear and long, straight halter dresses. He often used fabrics with geometric patterns and narrow stripes and introduced plastic fabrics in futuristic modes.
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