Willi Smith


"Willi Donnell Smith (February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987) was an American fashion designer, regarded at the time of his death as one of the most successful young African-American designers in the industry...Smith died in 1987 after contracting shigella and pneumonia while on a trip to India, apparently as a result of AIDS. It is suspected that Smith himself did not know he had the disease, although those around him knew he was fragile in his last days.[citation needed] Most thought it was just that Smith had pushed himself so hard, being such a perfectionist with his work.[citation needed] John Bartlett, who was working at the time of Smith's untimely death, took over design operations and remained until 1993."

Cotton Club Gala (1985)