Emilio Pucci The Prince Of Prints
“Gaiety is one of the most important elements I brought to fashion. I brought it through colour.” This quote from Emilio Pucci embodies the man, his style and his joie de vivre
Emilio Pucci, Marquis of Barsento, founded the brand that bears his name in 1947. The man and the brand have always been synonymous with geometric prints in a kaleidoscope of colours. He unexpectedly began his career on the Swiss ski slopes, to open his first boutique in Capri in 1950.
A citizen of the world, constantly travelling between his native Florence and the holiday resorts favoured by the jet set, he envisioned the modern woman following a revolutionary intuition full of style and personality.
He dressed women with easy, immediate pieces that express a new idea of elegance: fast, joyful, spontaneous, effortless. He embraced, with a unique sense of colour, the American idea of sportswear, the need for absolute comfort, which he combined with an innate taste for beauty and luxury. He left a permanent mark, summarised by the prints that earned him the title of The Prince of Prints.
The Emilio Pucci creations combine pure lines with the joy of colour. He favoured fluid, elastic materials such as the Emilioform jersey, which allow total freedom of movement and use. The Marilyn dress, loved by the actress and an international success, was designed for the sophisticated woman always on the go.
One just had to roll it up and pack: in its happy ease, it was the contemporary spirit made dress, for globetrotters in constant travel. The idea of the first leggings, the palazzo pyjamas and the caftans, and the foulard shirts was equally innovative in its dynamism.
Emilio Pucci was born in Naples in 1914 to one of Florence's oldest noble families, and he lived and worked in the Pucci Palace in Florence for much of his life. He was a keen sportsman who swam, skied, fenced, played tennis and raced cars.
At the University of Milan, he studied agriculture at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where he became a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society. He earned an MA in social science from Reed College in 1937,and was awarded his doctorate (laurea) in political science from the University of Florence the same year.
In 1938, Pucci joined the Italian Air Force, and served as an SM.79 torpedo bomber pilot during World War II, rising to the rank of captain and receiving decorations for valour.
Foray Into Design
The first clothes designed by Pucci were for the Reed College skiing team. His designs came to wider attention in 1947, when he was on leave in Zermatt, Switzerland. Skiwear that he had designed for a female friend was photographed by Toni Frissell, a photographer working for Harper's Bazaar. Frissell's editor asked Pucci to design skiwear for a story on European Winter Fashion, which ran in the winter 1948 issue of the Bazaar.
Pucci was the first person to design a one-piece ski suit. Although there had been some experiments with stretch fabrics in Europe before the war, Pucci's sleek designs caused a sensation, and he received several offers from American manufacturers to produce them. Instead, he left the Air Force and set up an haute couture house in the fashionable resort of Canzone del Mare on the Isle of Capri.
Initially, he used his knowledge of stretch fabrics to produce a swimwear line in 1949, but he soon moved onto other items such as brightly coloured, boldly patterned silk scarves.
Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus encouraged him to use the designs in blouses and then a popular line of wrinkle-free printed silk dresses. Pucci presented his collection in the first fashion shows in Italy in 1950. Pucci added a boutique in Rome as business thrived, helped by Capri's role as a destination for the international jet set. By the early 1950s, Pucci was achieving international recognition, receiving the Neiman-Marcus Award in Dallas and the Burdine's Sunshine Award in Miami.
By the 1960s, Pucci was further thrust into greater status when Marilyn Monroe became a fan. She was photographed by George Barris in a number of Pucci's items in what would be some of her final photographs. After Monroe's death in 1962, she was interred wearing a Pucci dress.
As the decade progressed his designs were worn by everyone from Sophia Loren to Jackie Kennedy, as well as later pop icons such as Madonna in the early 1990s. In fashion history, especially during the period of the 1950s and 1960s, Pucci was a perfect example of a transition between luxurious couture and ready-to-wear in Europe and North America.
In February 1959, he married Cristina Nannini from Rome, about whom he later remarked, "I married a Botticelli." They had two children, Alessandro and Laudomia. Alessandro died in a car crash in 1998, six years after his father.
After Emilio Pucci's death in 1992, his daughter, Laudomia Pucci, continued to design under the Pucci name. The French LVMH luxury goods empire acquired 67% of Pucci in 2000.
Laudomia became Image Director, while LVMH brought in major designers such as Christian Lacroix (creative director 2002-05), and in October 2005, Matthew Williamson, and Peter Dundas from 2009. Other designers who have worked for the label include Stephan Janson and Julio Espada.
Laudomia Pucci has created a talent centre in the family estate in Granaiolo and every year she invites students from Polimoda (Florence), ECAL (Lausanne) and Central Saint Martins (London) to see the Emilio Pucci archives and inspired by those, come up with
The Latest Emilio Pucci Eyewear Collection
The latest eyewear collection are what the Emilio Pucci customer has always looked for in the brand. Joy, liveliness, and freshness characterise refined sunglasses and optical frames, built on a harmony of form and on the fascination of colours.
The collection’s dynamic and innovative mood touches on the unmistakable notes of the Pucci style, dictated by the lively and energetic rhythm of iconic colours and prints. The brand’s identity moves from a poetic heritage of color to the boldness of contemporary graphisms and designs.
Elegant geometries and precious details define a free-spirited and sophisticated aesthetic that translates into unique styles that speak of beauty in a joyful way.