- The Origin
- Pucci Prints
- The Success
- Laudomia Pucci
- Pucci Acquired by LVMH
- Christian Lacroix
- 60th Anniversary
- Exhibitions and Events
- Creative Director: Massimo Giorgetti
- Current Situation
Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) is an Italian designer who was born in Naples, but his father was of Russian extraction. After studying social sciences at the University of Athens in Georgia, and then in Portland, Oregon, he signed up as an officer in the Italian Air Force in 1938. Having continued his studies with a Doctorate in political sciences at Florence University, he fought courageously in World War II.
His introduction to fashion came about quite by chance in 1947 amidst the snow of Zermatt, where he was training with the Olympic ski team. Toni Frissel, a well-known photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, immortalized Pucci in a shot with a female friend for whom he had improvised a ski outfit.
A year later Pucci’s first collection of sportswear appeared on the cover of the same magazine. His outfits were bought up immediately by the department store Lord and Taylor, and were given the label “Emilio” in the USA. The American market welcomed Pucci’s comfortable and practical fashion.
Emilio Pucci is highly influenced by Sicilian mosaics, heraldic banners, Bali Batiks, and African motifs. Therefore, he invented a unique style, recognizable for its printed textiles, first stylized, then geometric. Also, for his incredible use of color, which brought together shades in unforeseen combinations. His prints were designed to be shown off at their best when seen in motion on Pucci’s dynamically cut dresses.
In 1949, he launched his first beachwear collection in Capri, based on black and white prints created by Guido Ravasi of Como. The collection was a success, so in 1950 Pucci decided to open a boutique on the Canzone del Mare at Marina Piccola. His clothes were cut and assembled in the family home in Florence, where he had set up a small workshop in order to cope with the influx of requests.
In 1951 his designs appeared in his first Italian runway show, organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini at Villa Torrrigiani on Via Serragli, Florence. The show was attended by America’s most important buyers. From then on, Pucci would be present at every Florentine fashion show until 1967, the year in which he began to show in his own building on Via dei Pucci. In 1953, his palette of colors became suddenly more daring, printed on shirts, pants, scarves, and dresses in jersey, silk, and synthetic fibers.
This range was big news on the international fashion stage, and won Pucci the 1954 Neiman Marcus Fashion Oscar for best designer of the year. Among his most famous were his Sicilian collection of 1956, inspired by the Sienese Palio in 1956, and his Botticelli collection of 1959.
From the very beginning of his fashion career, Pucci was interested in experimenting with materials. In 1953, with Legler, he produced synthetic velvets for sports pants, and in the same year he worked with cotton producers Valle Susa to create printed wally pliss. In 1954 Pucci made famous a new jersey for the production of lightweight, crease-proof clothing.
This was produced by Mabu of Solbiate and Boselli of Como, and made out of very fine silk organza. In 1960 he patented a light, comfortable elastic fabric called emilioform composed of Helanca synthetic and shantung silk. From this Pucci produced his Viva ski-pants and his famous outer-space style Capsule.
In 1962, having become increasingly influenced by the Orient, he produced his first haute couture collection. This was notable for its rich fabrics and the workmanship of the embroidery, which included Swarovski crystals attached by hand to the palazzo pants which were already so much in vogue by that time.
In 1966 the first Pucci fragrance, Vivara was launched, followed by Miss Zadig in 1974 and Pucci in 1977. Meanwhile in 1968 he had become involved in the creation of menswear, having signed an agreement with Ermenegildo Zegna. Having invented the “total look” ahead of time, Pucci had signed licenses on all sorts of accessories and other items; from lingerie for Formit, to porcelain with Rosenthal; from rugs for Dandolo Argentini to Parker pens. In 1971 he even designed the emblem for NASA’s Apollo 25 space mission. His clothes were sold in no fewer than 51 countries.
In 1980, Pucci’s daughter Laudomia joined his design team, and in 1992 took over her father’s business when he passed away. In the early 2000s the movie Isn’t She Great? is released in which the famous American writer Jacqueline Susann, played by Bette Midler, is such a Pucci fanatic that she even has “Emilio” curtains in her pink study. She wears Pucci from head to toe, and even has a dog called Pucci Poo. The fashion world cannot ignore Puccimania. Katell Le Bourhis, adviser to Bernard Arnault and responsible for the dress collection at the Metropolitan Museum, visited the archives at Palazzo Pucci and was struck by the profound influence of “Emilio.”
In April, Cristina and Laudomia Pucci di Barsento — owners of the prêt-à-porter label Emilio Pucci, signed an agreement with LVMH, which acquired 67% of the business. Arnault had listened to Le Bourhis’s advice. The Managing Director of LVMH was the young Catherine Vautrin, who had been on the board since 1998. Laudomia Pucci continues to co-ordinate design and brand policy, whilst the production side of the business is incorporated into the Fashion and Leather division of the Arnault Group, chaired by Yves Carcelle.
In April 2002 Christian Lacroix was appointed Artistic Director of Emilio Pucci. Nobody, possibly, other than the “arlésien” with his Mediterranean spirit, could better take on the legacy of the “Prince of Prints.” Thanks to Lacroix, the shades and combinations of colors of the fashion of an innovative and gifted artist live on. Pucci’s exuberant, optimistic and at the same time highly glamorous vision of life was to be seen both in his ready-to-wear and beachwear collections.
Matthew Williamson includes the prints that made Emilio Pucci famous during the ’50s and ’60s in spring summer 2006 collection. He reinterprets them in a modern key on shorter dresses, with more sharp and geometric lines. In the same year, the House of Emilio Pucci works with Omas to create a ballpoint pen in three limited versions, creating an elegant perfect pen for writing thanks to the fantasies created by the Maison.
In 2007, the Maison celebrates sixty years and hundred years from the designer’s birth: that year the House launches an ephemeral makeup collection resulting from a partnership with Guerlain, and a new version of the Vivara fragrance, originally created in 1964. A year later, the brand opens an online store.
In 2009 Matthew Williamson leaves Pucci and Peter Dundas becomes creative director. His style is recognizable from cuts, colors, details and prints enhancing the female silhouette. Later, in 2013 new boutiques opens in Italy and the House plans to open boutiques globally in the fashion capitals. After the ownership of LVMH, Pucci has plans to step out to seek and join the “big boys club” of the luxury apparel labels.
From April 5 to July 27, 2014, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London organizes an exhibition on the birth of Italian fashion brands, also celebrating the case of Emilio Pucci. The Maison also participated to a LuisaViaRoma and Adidas charity project, customizing the FIFA ball for the World Cup.
In 2014, during Pitti Immagine Uomo, Vogue Italy organizes an event to celebrate Italians designers from Florence, where the name of Emilio Pucci is celebrated with photo shoots from the Vogue Italy archives. Moreover, Emilio Pucci creates the installation “Monumental Pucci”, featuring an iconic print depicting the Baptistery of Florence.
In April of 2015 Massimo Giorgetti is named creative director of the brand. He is the young and talented founder of the brand MSGM. He was elected creative director of the fashion house to create a new future for the brand, a pop soul of a tradition of quality.
On the occasion of the earthquake in central Italy of 24 August 2016, the celebrities come together to support those affected by the disaster. The event “Support from Fashion”, in support of the citizens of Amatrice, is organized in Florence. Pucci and other designers put some of their creations for auction to donate the proceeds to the earthquake victims. Always in 2016, Emilio Pucci and Illy come together to create a collection of coffee cups. The objects of design are part of the Illy Art Collection series, which includes hand-drawn exclusive prints, depicting landscapes dedicated to Florence, Milan, and New York.
In April 2017, to tribute the 50th year of Componibili designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1967, Pucci started a collaboration with Cartel. Together they designed a special version of this iconic storage modules by using brand’s archive print “Campanule” which fully represent the spirit of Emilio Pucci.
At the same time, to strengthen brand’s presence in Asia market, the company opened a new boutique in Korea, located at the Galleria East Luxury Hall in Seoul. With the new opening Emilio Pucci now has a consolidated presence in Asia, operates in major cities like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Beijing. In addition, Pucci is presented all over the world in more than 50 countries, also offering its product through its online flagship emiliopucci.com. Brand’s distribution network extends to the world’s most relevant fashion capitals including Milan, New York, Rome, Paris and London, as well as luxury resort destinations such as Portofino and Saint Tropez.