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Fashion designer Ruth Tarvydas found dead
Fashion designer Ruth Tarvydas in her East Perth apartment. Picture: Astrid Volzke/ The West Australian.

Iconic Perth fashion designer Ruth Tarvydas has been found dead at her East Perth apartment.

It is understood emergency services were called to her Goderich Street apartment this morning amid concerns for her welfare. It is believed she was found dead at the scene.

An ambulance was called to the scene but did not take anyone to hospital.

The designer, well-known for her glamorous evening gowns, had struggled with financial difficulties in recent years but was weeks away from making her debut at Paris Fashion Week, a lifelong dream.

Tarvydas was forced to close her King Street store in October 2012 because of debts of $1 million despite her list of high-profile clients including Rihanna, Elle Macpherson, Emma Watson, Jennifer Hawkins and Natalie Bassingthwaite.

She also designed the now-famous plunging red backless gown worn by Rebecca Twigley, model and then girlfriend of West Coast Eagle Chris Judd, at 2004's Brownlow Medal ceremony.

In December 2012 she opened a new store in Claremont’s Times Square precinct, with the support of businessman John Bond.

GALLERY: Ruth Tarvydas

Early this year she told The West Australian the financial crisis had created “a new me.”

“You have to go through everything in life to grow,” she said.

“It is about presenting fashion with a whole different energy.”

A representative for Tarvydas, Jeremy Balius, made a statement outside her home this afternoon, saying his friend was a “true Australian icon.”

“It is with deep sorrow we mourn the loss of our dear friend Ruth Tarvydas. The beauty she created and gave to our world through her fashion creations will last forever,” he said.

“It is with gratitude I say that no matter how far her success carried her out into the world she always came back to us in WA.

“She was proud of being Western Australian, Ruth was the embodiment of passion and strength and empowerment.”

Emotional scenes outside apartment where Tarvydas' body was found. Picture: Michael Wilson/ The West Australian,

Mr Balius said when he spoke to Tarvydas yesterday the pair “laughed and talked at length about what the future holds and the bright horizon we can see.”

“Our final words to each other were that we felt blessed to have each other in our lives,” he said.

“I am thankful for the time we had together. Please join me in remembering and celebrating the rich legacy of joy and beauty Ruth leaves us with.”

Tarvydas' death is not being treated as suspicious.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

With AAP

The West Australian

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