Designer Highlight: Zoran

Have you heard of Zoran? No? One gets the feeling he prefers it that way.

Zoran (pronounced ZOR-run) Ladicorbic, known by his first name, doesn’t advertise. He doesn’t have a biography on Oxford Art Online. He has no website to display his collections. He does have a Wikipedia page, but it’s in French.

Very little is known about Zoran’s life. He was born in 1947 in Yugoslavia, and studied architecture in Belgrade before moving to the United States in the 1971.  “After five years here, he put together his first collection, consisting of a shirt in three lengths, a pair of pants and a skirt, all in crepe de chine.  The tops were ivory; the bottoms black” (3). This formula, a few designs in a limited color palette, became a characteristic of his collections.

Photograph: Arthur Elgort, from “Zoran: The Wizard of Ease” Vogue, March 1983, page 354.

In May 1995, in an interview for the Wall Street Journal, Zoran said of his designs, “This is future, this is jet-pack fashion” (1). His most loyal customers are familiar with comfortable surrounding and exotic destinations, and the timeless quality and simple shapes in Zoran’s design appeal to these “Zoranians.” Many of his designs lack popular closures and decorations, including button, bows, beads, snaps, zippers, and ruffles. The simplicity of his designs brings attention to the fine quality natural fabrics Zoran favors; it is difficult to find one of his designs that has not been realized in silk, cashmere, wool and linen.

Color is also important. “The backbone of his line is five easy pieces he devised when he started the business in 1975. The pants, skirt, top, jacket and dress are recycled annually in sumptuous fabrics but always in a limited range of neutral colors — brown, camel, ivory, gray, black” (1). In an article in the New York Times, the author notes that in his collections, “the colors tend to be neutral gray, beige and black with a shot of purple, red or blue” (3).

Photograph: Arthur Elgort, from “Zoran: The Wizard of Ease” Vogue, March 1983, page 357.

Most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, Zoran’s designs were featured in several of Vogue’s spreads. His designs were popular with famous clients such as Oprah Winfrey, Candice Bergen, Lauren Bacall, and the late Jackie Onassis. He is also famous for his strong opinions about women’s jewelry, hair, and weight. In an article published in May 1995 in the Wall Street Journal, the author recounts the following event:

Last November, well after midnight and many Stolis, Zoran sat in his loft surrounded by a handful of clients. As it often does, the talk turned to hair. Suanne Orenstein, a Minneapolis buyer, casually asked Zoran whether she should continue to let hers grow.
“No,” he boomed. “You need to cut it — now.”
Draping a tablecloth around Ms. Orenstein and grabbing two pairs of fabric shears, Zoran, working by candlelight, began whacking off hair. He is quite good at this and does it for customers all the time because he hates long hair. He was finished moments later. Ms. Orenstein picked up a hand mirror to inspect the results, hugging Zoran as his friends clapped.

Photograph: Arthur Elgort, from “Zoran: The Wizard of Ease” Vogue, March 1983, page 358-9.

Visitors to Part One and Part Two of The Museum at FIT’s exhibit, Fashion, A – Z, will be familiar with the name Zoran. Part One of the exhibit included one of Zoran’s designs, a purple silk halter ensemble trimmed with ropes, and Part Two, which is open to the public until November 10, 2012, ends with Z, a taupe and crepe jumpsuit designed by Zoran.

The press has been silent about Zoran in the last decade. In an interview recorded on April 18, 1996 in the Chicago Tribune, reporter Teresa Wiltz quotes the strong-willed designer, recording his views on politics, his delights and fears, and his opinion of about the future. His opinion on the future, in 1996, was this: “Very bright. Each generation, they’re always speaking the end. I don’t see yesterday as better. It’s always better tomorrow.”

Notes:
1. Agins, Teri. “Uniquely Chic: If Zoran Doesn’t Ring a Bell, that is Fine with Quirky Designer.” Wall Street Journal, May 08, 1995,
2. Horyn, Cathy. “Zoran, the Master of Deluxe Minimalism, Still Provokes.” New York Times, April 20, 1999.
3. Morris, Bernadine. “Zoran and Kamali: Success with the Offbeat.” New York Times. Jan 04, 1983.
4. Wiltz, Teresa. “Getting All Wrapped Up in the World According to Zoran.” Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1996.
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11 Responses to Designer Highlight: Zoran

  1. Phyllis Perkins says:

    So where is Zoran now — 2013? His clothes don’t seem to be sold at the department stores where I purchased them in past years. Is he still designing and selling his clothes? I love his outfits and they are timeless.

    • Laura Peluso says:

      Phyllis, this post contains the most recent information I was able to find about Zoran. If I learn anything new, I will be sure to update this post. Like you, I would love to see his designs in stores again!

      • Irene Filacchione says:

        I, too, was wondering about Zoran. I love his clothes and although I now live on a farm and no longer go to an office his clothes are the ones I kept for when I have to join civilization. Have lots of brown and black, wish I had bought the red 3pc satin backed crepe I debated over in NY Saks but decided not to buy. I’ve always gotten the most compliments on his clothes even though most people don’t understand how masterful the cuts are.

  2. Monica Thrasher says:

    I too love Zoran clothes. His fabrics and cuts are elegant and timeless. I look my best in his clothes. I miss him! Monica

  3. Nancy Hur crabbe says:

    I just bought some Zoran on ebay because I can’t find his beautiful cashmere silk knits!

  4. jacq staubs says:

    what a brilliant designer,,,i was fashion editor and direcor during his early years-to me a true genius-loved him for his totally modern / clean approach – reminded me of some of the Claire Mc Cardell mind set of the 50’s -had the oppertunity to meet him several times…

  5. nancy Rogge says:

    Are his new pieces sold anywhere in the US/

    • jacq staubs says:

      sadly, i do not have any info on him -he opened a shop in Washington,DC…..closed it in a short space of time……many years ago

  6. Barry Paull says:

    Zoran’s designs remind us that beauty and substance need not be complicated. For devotees, I just put one of his quilted silk jackets up for auction on eBay.

  7. Pingback: Fashion Archives: Zoran, The Wizard of Ease (Vogue, March 1983)

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