Ted Lapidus, 79, the French fashion designer who redefined chic with the 1960s unisex look, died Monday in a Cannes hospital of pulmonary problems. He also suffered from leukemia.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, in an homage to the designer, said Mr. Lapidus "democratized French elegance and classicism" and "made fashion accessible to men and women in the street."

Mr. Lapidus created his label in 1951, and in 1963 he became a member of the prestigious Paris fashion club La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The sandy-colored safari suit became emblematic of the modernist Lapidus style, with purist lines that swept the international fashion scene in the 1960s and 1970s.

But he designed high fashion for only a brief portion of his career, preferring to put the accent on accessories early on.

- AP