Paul Smith

Paul Smith, English tailor and designer, inaugurated an unconventional style, constantly reworking. Read the story of the designer known for colored stripes and men’s formal suits.

Index

  1. Style
  2. You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)
  3. Paul Smith in Milan
  4. Boutiques and Iconic Stripes
  5. The Recent Year’s
  6. Current Situation

Style

Paul Smith (1946) is an English tailor and designer. The first thing he sold was a pocket handkerchief with the British flag. Today, in the stores, everything is from robots to ties. He is always unconventional. It has transformed the tailoring into an explosion of colors, inventions, fashion trends combined with the oldest quality of fabrics. He still has the spirit of a twenty-something, cutting-edge designer, which is why he continues to ride the crest of the wave.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Portrait of the Designer
Portrait of the Designer

His clothes are like his personality: amusing and serious at the same time, eccentric but wearable. He opened a multi-brand shop in Nottingham in 1970, and nine years later opened his first proper shop, revolutionizing the concept of selling space, which from then on was no longer just the space used for the display of goods, but a meeting point for anyone interested in style.

His first menswear fashion show was in 1976 in Paris. From that point on the label has grown from strength to strength. The brand’s reputation has never ceased to grow. He has also been asked to be a consultant to the Prime Minister Tony Blair.

You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)

In February 2001, Paul Smith joined The Queen on the Birthday Honors List, an acknowledgment of his contribution to British fashion. Later, in November he published You can get inspiration from anything (and if you cannot, look again!). It is not a fashion monograph, nor a clothing catalog, but a collection of images where the author is portrayed in the most diverse situations. The volume, 288 pages, was edited by Alan Aboud who has co-authored the author as an art director for more than ten years. The project was also signed by Jonathan Ive (iMac designer). At the same time, he opened a shop in London at the Royal Exchange.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Book "You Can Find Inspiration in Everything"
Paul Smith’s Book: “You Can Find Inspiration in Everything”

Paul Smith in Milan

In March 2002, Paul Smith opened his first single store in Italy, via Manzoni in Milan. The project is by Sophie Hicks. Then, the first men’s shoe store was opened in Paris. The following month, in collaboration with Cappellini, the Mondo furniture collection will be launched during the Milan Furniture Show.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith the Designer at the Salone Del Mobile in Collaboration with Gufram 2016
The Designer at the Salone Del Mobile in Collaboration with Gufram 2016

During the same period, the designer organized Great Brits, an exhibition that pays homage to the greatest British designers. The exhibition was held in his own studio in Milan at Viale Umbria 95. The designer chose four young names: D. Mathias Bengtsson, Tord Boontje, Daniel Brown, and Sam Buxton.

In 2003, after the enormous success achieved with the first collaboration, Reebok commissioned the designer to create a new collection of 80’s men-women shoes, named after Paul Smith, Reebok 2. The materials are mainly orange and blue nylon and real red and blue leather. Exclusively worldwide, only in the stores of Paul Smith (around 250 worldwide) you can buy the first book written by David Bowie at the “modest” sum of £ 295, Moonage Daydream: the truth behind Ziggy. Each of the 2500 numbered copies is autographed.

Boutiques and Iconic Stripes

In February 2005 he opened his first shop for the Pink line in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo. The flagship store measures 120 square meters and is entirely for womenswear and accessories. It is called Paul Smith Pink+. Then, in March he released the Black collection, following an earlier Blue version, the second official women’s line to be found in department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridges.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Striped Wallpaper Signed by Paul Smith for Maharam
Striped Wallpaper Signed by Paul Smith for Maharam

Paul Smith boutiques are known for a distinguished playful design. Every boutique is designed and decorated differently, but all are full of color and character, mirroring his personality. This concept reflects his unconventional design.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith LA Boutique
Paul Smith LA Boutique

In 2006, with the intention of using it only for a season, the stylist launches the iconic signature of Paul Smith Stripes. There are not many styles that can be worn either by a two year old girl, or a 35-year-old man. The stripes are perhaps the only candidate. The rows have the power to make a highly distinguishable surface, which, speaking of clothes, explains why they have never been kept in great care.

The Recent Year’s

In 2009 Paul Smith made a collection of bike clothes in association with Rapha. In this period, he opened stores in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles, and London.

In mid-November 2013 the company celebrated their 40th anniversary in the fashion world at the London Design Museum with the exhibition Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. The goal is to explore all aspects of the designer’s career, including future development. Accurate reproduction of Paul Smith’s studio, as well as an immersive installation, reveal some of his inspirations. The exhibition is a real journey through its collections, a day in the life of a parade and collaborations with other brands.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Exhibition "Hello My Name is Paul Smith"
Exhibition “Hello My Name is Paul Smith”

Current Situation

In 2017, in Florence, Paul Smith lit a fluorescent light in his youth line, PS by Paul Smith, and re-launched with a focus on basic clothes. The designer argues that the cornerstone of his business is the basis:

“Well done, of good quality, simple cut, made with special fabrics and easy to wear.”

Paul Smith has not presented his collection to Pitti Man for 23 years, but has considered Pitti Uomo 91 the right occasion to present his new collection. The latter translates his attitudes towards classic and bizarre in terms related to the new generations.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Presented at 91 Pitti Uomo
Paul Smith Presented at 91 Pitti Uomo

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is an American brand founded in 1967 by fashion designer, Ralph Lauren. They produce and market: apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances.

Index

  1. The Origins
  2. First Collection
  3. The Style
  4. Expansion of the Brand
  5. Ralph Lauren in the Cinema
  6. Awards & Donations
  7. The Financial Situation
  8. The Recent Year’s

The Origins

Ralph Lipschitz (1939). American designer, born in Bronx, New York. Since his childhood, Ralph Lauren, had shown great passion and love towards the industry of fashion, which supported his career’s paths. He learned the profession by working in the field between 1956 and 1966. His job titles include shop assistant, buyer, and agent in several department stores in New York, including the Alexander stores, Allied stores, Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers, and Rivetz in Boston. Also, he took evening courses in business management at City College in New York.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren 1971 Working is his Office
Ralph Lauren (1971) Working is his Office

First Collection

In 1967 designed and handmade a professional tie collection. He innovated the wide tie style, named “Polo” for Beau Brummel. The collection was a huge success and a year later he established the independent brand, Polo by Ralph Lauren, which made its début with a tailored menswear collection.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren First Tie Collection Style
Ralph Lauren First Tie Collection Style

The Style

Since starting out, his style has interpreted the past with a touch of romanticism, blending the traditions of the English aristocracy, above all, the impeccable Duke of Windsor, with the stars of old Hollywood, such as Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. Also, he designs with thoughts such as sports, African safaris, and vacations in New England. Ralph Lauren was able to expand his design to a full menswear line, and was awarded the City Award for his men’s designs. His style was highly influenced by his dream of living as an American high ivy-league society where classic, elegant, and a smart look were most important.

He says: “My purpose in fashion is to achieve the dream of dreams: the most beautiful reality that one can imagine.”

In this manner he has created a style that is by now recognized as typically American. His style is appreciated all over the world by those looking for a slice of the American Dream.

Expansion of the Brand

In 1971 he launched his first womenswear collection and introduced the famous logo of the polo player into knitwear. That same year, Lauren opened his first boutique in Beverly Hills, and a corner space in Bloomingdale’s, New York. The first international store opened in London in 1981 and by then there were about 100 around the world. The New York showroom in the former Rhinelander mansion in Madison Avenue opened in 1986. The store mirrors his way of thinking about fashion and life, proposing an eternal elegance and a very high, timeless quality.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren First Collection of Fitted Shirt's
Ralph Lauren First Collection of Fitted Shirt’s

By the 1990s, Ralph Lauren had about 20 clothing lines for men, women, teenagers, and children. Also, several fragrances and the line of household items are successful. Several lines of accessories are produced under license.

Ralph Lauren in the Cinema

He has also designed several costumes for the cinema. In 1973 he clothed Robert Redford in the movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In 1977 he launched a new fashion when he dressed Diane Keaton in men’s clothes in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall: jackets and pants in soft tweeds, shirt and tie, waistcoat and felt hats, everything assembled in a totally new ironic and sensual way. The success did not stop but was continuously built with extending products such as fragrance in 1978 up until today and different lines such as of Polo Sport in 1992, Purple Label in 1995, and Lauren Ralph Lauren in 1996. Ralph Lauren did not stop there, he also started reaching out different market such as restaurants and bars that were opened in 1999 at Chicago and other major places in the coming years such as Paris (2010) and New York (2015).

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Dressed Diane Keaton in Annie Hall
Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Dressed Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (Photo by Moviestore Collection)

Awards & Donations

The list of prizes and awards he has won is extremely long, including an ad honorem degree in Classical Literature from Brandeis University in 1996. Also, some of his creations are in the permanent collection of New York’s Fashion Institute. Later, in 1983 a retrospective of his work was held in the Denver Art Museum in Colorado. Over the years he made significant donations to humanitarian causes, for example, research into cancer and Aids. In 1998 he offered $13 million for the restoration of the first American flag, the original star-spangled banner. The company was quoted on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997. Two years later Ralph Lauren bought Club Monaco, Canadian traders in retail fashion, for $52.5 million, making its own name as one of the international powers in the field of prêt-à-porter.

In January of 2000, the American company bought the licensee company for Europe, Poloco of Paris, for $200 million. Also, with the development of technology, Ralph Lauren kept his positioning by launching official web site in 2000. In August 2001, Lillian Wang von Stauffenberg and Lauren DuPont became the new designers for the women’s collection.

During the first half of the year the company had a turnover of $898.3 million, an increase of 3.8% compared to 2000. Net profits amounted to $125.1 million. The multinational had 231 stores worldwide. In the United States sales represented 78.1% of the total; in Japan and Europe, respectively, 10% and 7.3%. The clothes and shoes bearing the Ralph Lauren brand name were mostly manufactured in Italy. As of 2001, global sales reached a level of $2.6 billion.

In 2001 the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation was founded and for breast cancer awareness Ralph Lauren launched the Pink Pony initiative to help raise awareness. In the spring 2002 fashion show models were wearing the Pink Pony T-Shirt, which became a symbol of the campaign.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Tee Spring 2002 Runway Show
Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Tee Spring 2002 Runway Show

The Financial Situation

February of 2002 For the first time the group presented its men’s collection in Milan, in its headquarters at 27 Via San Barnaba (designed by the architect Mino Fiocchi). It is an exact reproduction of the designer’s house. Later in December, after 25 years of a license agreement with Seibu, Ralph Lauren took back control in Japan, acquiring 50% of the company operating under the general license. The total investment amounted to $70 million.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Flagship in Milan on 27 Via San Barnaba
Ralph Lauren Flagship in Milan on 27 Via San Barnaba

In January 2003 Ralph Lauren moved store locations in Milan and chose Via Montenapoleone for his first own-brand boutique in Milan. The store opened in Fall 2004. With more than 20 collections, 265 stores all over the world, and a retail value of $8 billion, Polo Ralph Lauren aimed at reaching, in the next five years, a turnover of $1 billion in the European continent alone.

The same year, the designer launches the Rugby line, a complete collection for teenagers aged 16 to 25. The line obviously inspires the same sport. In October, he opened his first Rugby store in Boston. In 2005, sales grew around 38%. There were notable increase in profits, especially in the third and the last quarter of 2004. And the new year begins with an increase of receipts, rising to $74.8 million, over the $35.4 million of the year before.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Rugby Line
Ralph Lauren Rugby Line

In 2006, Ralph Lauren opened its largest shop in Omotesando, Tokyo, 2230 square meters of Ralph Lauren’s entire world show. In 2007, two single monarchs were opened in Moscow. In 2008, once again Ralph Lauren is confirmed as the official sponsor of Wimbledon, the most exclusive tennis tournament in the world, and dedicates a collection to this event.

The Recent Year’s

To enrich the brand luxury positioning they underwent several collaborations and brand extensions. In 2007 Ralph Lauren decided to reach the industry of jewelry and accessories by partnering with Swiss Luxury Goods Group and the partnership still exists today.  Another partnering was with J.C. Penney for launching American Living for Ralph Lauren home collection. However, this collaboration did not last long and ended by 2012. Also, Ralph Lauren opened the sophisticated line called Black Label in 2009 and then reaching out the kid’s section through the “Pink Pony” collection in the same year as well. For the women’s line, in 2010, the brand started to launch the line Lauren’s Handbags and Accessories. Later, in 2012 the Rugby line, which started in 2005, is officially discontinued.

The latest highlight was the Ricky Bag in 2016, which was inspired from his wife. The bag had a discreet rechargeable battery to power the internal LED light and also a USB port to charge mobile devices. Due to the unique design, this collection also was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Ricky Bag
the Iconic Ricky Bag

At the end of 2015, Ralph Lauren officially stepped down as CEO, but will remain executive chairman and chief creative director. Stefan Larsson, a Swedish born previous executive of Old Navy and Gap, took Lauren’s position as CEO. Unfortunately, after a year, Larsson stepped down after a disagreement with Lauren on how to revive the brand in the new era. Currently, Ralph Lauren is looking for a CEO.

Through the year Ralph Lauren never stopped envisioning future. In 2016 during New York fashion week they partnered with Periscope, Twitter’s livestream app, creating the first livestream of the luxury’s runway show in Manhattan and streamed on a billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus and @RalphLauren Periscope account. With continuous expansion of stores and products’ development, Ralph Lauren currently has more than 500 directly operated stores worldwide and international licensing partners around the world.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Current 2017 Campaign
Current 2017 Campaign

Since the brand’s early age, it has been trusted to become the official outfitter of U.S. Olympic Team for almost every season of the competitions. He has also designed suits for government officials. In the 2016 US elections he designed outfits for both Democrats and Republicans during the campaign and inauguration.

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta is one of the leading brands in luxury leather goods manufacturing. Read the history of the brand which created the “Intrecciato” technique

Bottega Veneta is one of the leading brands in luxury leather goods manufacturing

Bottega Veneta is the first issue in English that we will continue to publish with the support of Domus Academy. We will continue with more brands and languages, like Chinese.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Bottega Veneta.
The detail of the “Intrecciato” Technique.

Index

  1. The origins
  2. The first opening in New York
  3. Brand Re-launch
  4. New President and CEO
  5. Current situation

The origins

The Italian luxury goods manufacturer of bags was established in 1967 in Vicenza, Veneto by Michele Taddei and his wife Laura Braggion.

After divorcing Michele, and marrying Vittorio Moltedo, Laura remained the sole owner. The first workshop began in a restored villa in Montebello Vicentino, home to some of the greatest artisans and craftspeople.

The bags, in soft leather and even today all handmade, are typical of the company’s production and have always been highly fashionable. They are known for their noble, elegant and emphasized detail of their leather goods.

They developed a distinctive weaving technique, by taking the intrecciato technique, typically only applied to clothes, and were the first to apply it to leather. After this, their leather goods were considered a delicacy. This was revolutionary, and till this day, is the most recognizable element in the brand DNA.

They are considered a lead representative of Italian quality and elegance with technique passed down through generations.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Clutches.
Clutches.

The first opening in New York

Later, the firm opened a single-brand shop in New York in 1971. It was the first of the Italians to be on Madison Avenue. Clients Jackie Onassis and Mary Tyler Moore helped launch the new brand store.

Twelve more single-brand shops would later open in America, plus boutiques in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence, along with 35 shops in Japan. In 1998 there was a prêt-à-porter Collection inspired by American sportswear which made its début at Milano Collezioni in October of the following year.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. The store on Madison Avenue, New York.
The inside of the Madison Avenue’s store in New York.

Brand Re-launch

In 2001 the company joined the Gucci Group, which a few months later, was acquired by PPR, now known as Kering. They reorganized their management structure and appointed a new creative director, Thomas Maier.

He decided to focus on the artisanal production by using the brands iconic technique of weaving “Intrecciato”. Moreover, he chose to remove the logo from the products. He kept the original brand DNA, but added minimalism and expanded the product range into fine jewelries, sunglasses, and home collections.

Since then, they have turned into a brand that emphasizes the lifestyle. The company had record revenues in 2002, especially in the fourth quarter, when it had a 90.5% increase in comparison to a diminished turnover for the other brands controlled by the Kering Group. In 2003 there was the Début of the unisex sunglasses produced for Bottega Veneta by Sàfilo.

In February 2005, Bottega Veneta presented its first women’s ready-to-wear runway show, and in June 2006, its first men’s runway show.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Bangles.
Bangles.

In April 2006, Bottega Veneta launched its first jewelry line, and started doing interior and furniture design. Later in 2006, the Luxury Institute of New York recognized Bottega Veneta as the most prestigious design house for the richest women of the United States.

In order to maintain their handmade tradition, they collaborated with once Artisa school, Scuola d’Arte Mestieri di Vicenza, and started a new school Scuola della Pelletteria, to educate the new generation of artisans.

New President and CEO

In 2009 Marco Bizzarri becomes the new president and CEO. He made a huge contribution to the economics and strengthened the performance of the company.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Marco Bizzarri.
Marco Bizzarri.

2 years later, in 2011, turnover reached 6.8 million euros, with a 33.7% increase in one year. Also, profits reached 2 million euro, a 57.1% increase, compared to 2010.

“I am so proud of these numbers. In this way we are able to achieve an incensement of economic growth, but at the same time we kept the quality of our product and manufacturing technique.” – Marco Bizzarri

Then in 2016 the value of the brand officially reached one billion euros.

Current situation

Currently, Bottega Veneta is celebrating their 50th birthday and Maiers 15th anniversary at the house. So, they launched a limited edition collection of handmade bags that represent their heritage in a contemporary way.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. 50th anniversary.
Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid at the Bottega Veneta’s 50th anniversary party

The brand is performing and their situation is strong. They have 255 directly operated stores, €1.173 millions in revenue, with 40% of their profit coming from Asia Pacific, and seen in thousands of multi-brand stores.

Today, the brand stands for low profile elegance. There are no shiny accessories, or visible logo. Their workshop remains in the original restored villa in Montebello Vicentino.