Fashion Designer Liz Claiborne Dies At 78

06/15/00 New York City Council of Fashion Designers of America (C.F.D.A.) present the American Fashion Awards at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Designer Liz Claiborne. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Fashion designer Liz Claiborne has died, a spokesperson for the fashion empire bearing her name has confirmed.

The cause of her death on Tuesday was not immediately known.

The Belgian-born Claiborne revolutionized women's wear in the 1970s and 1980s by introducing moderately priced clothing for the career woman.

Claiborne, who retired from the day-to-day operations in 1989, founded Liz Claiborne Inc. in 1976 along with second husband Art Ortenberg and Leonard Boxer. Their goal was to create a collection of fashions aimed at the growing number of women entering the work force.

"In losing Liz Claiborne, we have not only lost the founder of our company, but an inspirational woman who revolutionized the fashion industry 30 years ago," said Bill McComb, CEO of Liz Claiborne, in a statement.

"Her commitment to style and design is ever present in our thinking and the way we work. We will remember Liz for her vision, her entrepreneurial spirit and her enduring compassion and generosity,'' he said.

The company, started with half a million dollars, is now a nearly $5 billion dollar business that has expanded into accessories, men's clothing, and home decor.