Marina Schiano, Distinctive Presence in the Fashion World, Dies at 77

Marina Schiano, who left home as a teenager in Italy to become a leading model before making an even greater impact as a fashion industry executive, stylist and confidant of designers and artists, died on Sept. 8 in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil. She was 77.

John Calcagno, a longtime friend, said the cause was complications of surgery following a recent diagnosis of kidney cancer. Ms. Schiano had lived in Brazil since 2001.

Once established as a model in New York in the late 1960s, Ms. Schiano enmeshed herself in a circle of well-known designers, artist and writers, exhibiting, by all accounts, an eye-catching stylishness and unflappable self-confidence that was hard to ignore.

Ms. Schiano’s Neapolitan roots remained part of her identity in her New York years. Friends and colleagues were often invited to her Art Deco-furnished apartment at 521 Park Avenue for home-cooked Italian meals. She’d sometimes regale them with her impersonations, of the designer Valentino, for example, or the author Truman Capote.

“I was told she was very good at imitating me,” Ms. Von Furstenberg said, “but she imitated everybody.”

On the job, when things didn’t go as well as she had hoped on a photo shoot, for example, Ms. Schiano could let colleagues know of her displeasure in a full-throated way.

“She was a diva,” said the writer Bob Colacello, a longtime friend and former Warhol associate. “but it was based on the fact that she was talented and creative and impatient with people who didn’t get things as quickly as she did.”

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