Sportswear company established in Perugia in 1959 by Leonardo Servadio. The first products were ski trousers in elasticized fabric. Seven years later, demand caused the company to build a new headquarters and plant. In 1970 and ’74, further success came from the revolutionary and patented jet pants (they would be shown at the 1979 exhibit which the Pompidou Center dedicated to Italian design) and from an innovative padded jacket, both for skiing. Later, the line grew to include tennis oufits, windsurf wear, swimwear, and leisure time clothes. Meanwhile, the company, which was the first in its field to put a brand label on the outside of its garments, carried out a massive sponsorship program. Over the years, it sponsored tennis champions such as Boris Becker, 10 national ski teams, various tennis opens, and the Italian soccer team that became world champion in 1982. In 1988 the brand sold licenses in the U.S. and Canada, and in 1989-1990 in Japan. In 1993, the Pentald Plc Group acquired 90% of the company. Between 1995 and ’97 it acquired the rest and also took over the brand in the U.S. and Canada. Ellesse makes the Magic Air jacket and it made the racing outfit worn by Jean Luc Cretier, the French skier who in 1998 won the men’s downhill at the Olympics in Nagano.
The European turnover is €210 million, 85% of which comes from the U.K.
An international reorganization of the company, owned by the British Pentland Group, is launched. The guidelines include the introduction of new management, a product restyling, and a reorganization of the sales network. The effort is led by Bill Sweeney, president of the Ellesse Division, and Christopher Lee, the creative director.