Emilio Pucci’s life was as vibrant as his ICONIC designs.
Born into a noble Italian family in 1914, the Marquis of Barsento was destined for royalty—fashion royalty, that is. The Marquis, better known as designer Emilio Pucci, became known as the Prince of Prints for his signature, vibrant print motifs that featured geometric designs and the psychedelic swirls of the 1960s and 1970s.
Pucci’s colorful women’s wear bridged the gap between comfort, style and luxury. His clothes screamed vacation, fun and freedom, all with an undeniable Italian style. His signature tight, shantung “Pucci” pants and vivid wrinkle-free printed silk jersey dresses and blouses earned him many awards, including the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award and Harper’s Bazaar Medallion.
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Pucci’s colorful women’s wear bridged the gap between comfort, style and luxury.
SKIING TO SUCCESS
Before he was interested in fashion runways, Pucci was focused on ski slopes. At just 17 he was a member of the 1932 Italian Olympic ski team. His fashion career started by chance in 1947 on the slopes of Zermatt, when skiwear he designed for a female friend was noticed by a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. She asked him to design more for a photo shoot and the rest is fashion history.
In 1950, Pucci debuted his first fashion show in Italy and soon after opened boutiques in Rome and Capri, catering to the jet setters. He went on to design revolutionary uniforms for Braniff Airways flight attendants in the 1960s and his designs caught the attention of fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe, Sophie Loren, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy and Madonna. The ICONIC Monroe is even buried in a green Pucci dress.
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Pucci’s history has to be one of the most interesting in the fashion world. Born into one of the oldest families in Florence he lived and worked for much of his life in Pucci Palace. He wasn’t just a world-class skier, he also played tennis, swam and raced cars.
When WWII broke out, Pucci joined the Italian Air Force and served as a bomber pilot. During this time, he befriended Mussolini’s daughter, Edda. Pucci was instrumental in saving the life of her husband, who was on trial—ironically—for trying to remove Mussolini from power in 1943. In 1944, it was Pucci who helped Edda escape over the Swiss border.
However, when Pucci tried to escape himself at a later date he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo before ultimately being released and allowed to cross into Switzerland.
The self-taught fashion designer left this world in 1992 at age 78. His daughter, designer Laudomia, took over the label when she was just 28-years-old. Today she is image director and deputy chair. The Pucci legacy lives on in his brand that is now part of the LVMH collection.