19 June 1959 — The BeginningWhat do you do if you can’t find the exact skiwear you want? If you’re Leonardo Servadio, founder of ellesse, you simply design and manufacture your own. An Italian tailor and a charismatic personality, Leonardo finds ellesse in Perugia, Italy and breaks the boundaries between fashion and sport. He names the company after his initials L&S, elle-esse.
ellesse explores the concept of stylish and innovative ski wear. For Leonardo sport is about style, flair and good times spent hanging out with friends. Every product needs to look good and perform brilliantly. In the late 60’s ellesse discovers a performance enhancing fabric that will revolutionise the ski market.
The „Jet Pant“ is born; an all new ski trouser concept featuring padded knees and a figure hugging cut. What makes it an instant classic is the way the leg fits above the ski boot rather than being tucked inside.
The Quilted Jacket is created; a staple for the „it“ skiing crowd.
ellesse’s status in winter sports becomes the passport to the world of tennis. The new half ball logo is introduced and the way tennis clothes are made changes for ever — pleats, and fine tailoring become the order of the day.
End of the 70’s and ellesse is a firm favourite with the jet set crowd of Cortina and Val d’Isere. The stitched logo appears on the outside of clothes — a move copied by brands around the world ever since.
The brand is more in vogue than ever. The „who is who“ of tennis steps out to play in ellesse; Chris Evert, Boris Becker and Guillermo Villas become ellesse’s poster boys and girls. ellesse is the official supplier to ten national ski–teams and sponsors champion skier Mark Girardelli.
ellesse sponsors the Italian Soccer Team, winners of the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
1982 ellesse sponsors the legendary Ferrari F1 team and super star driver Alain Prost.
ellesse sponsors the New York Marathon alongside Mercedes–Benz and Perrier.
Throughout the decade ellesse captures the 80’s zeitgeist with iconic ads, posters and calendars exuding glamour and playfulness.
ellesse continues to reinvent the concept of fashion sportswear with new product designs and sponsorships.
In the early 90’s ellesse spots Anna Kournikova; one of the top female tennis stars of the 90’s and early 00’s. Signed at the age of 9, she wins the European championship and the Italian Open at the age of 14.
The Magic Air™ ski jacket is launched, a pioneering hi-tech product made of a material that raises the internal temperature of the garment. Another 90’s innovation is the ellesse „Pneu“ footwear range, which uses air cushions to support the foot.
In 1998 ellesse supports Olympic gold medal skier Jean-Luc Crétier, winner of downhill in the Nagano Winter Olympics. Jean-Luc winning in ellesse graces the cover of Time Magazine and an iconic moment in sports history is created.
In 1999 ellesse pays tribute to its heritage by sponsoring the Italian Open in Rome.
ellesse continues to create classic, Italian styling with a twist.
In 2004 ellesse teams up with London based designer duo Eley Kishimoto. The label is known for the innovative, surreal prints and sporty yet elegant tailoring. The collaboration receives extensive coverage from the likes of Vogue, Elle and other top fashion titles.
The look, as summarised by Vogue, is „stylish, practical, and with just enough school girl sex appeal... to look good on any court you choose, even if you’re just hanging around on the edge pretending to be sporty“.
In 2006 ellesse makes „Forplay“ — a suggestive and playful advertising campaign that makes a lot of noise.
For the 2007 global campaign ellesse teams up with fashion photographer Daniela Federici. Having worked for labels such Prada and Guess, Daniela produces shots with a luxury fashion editorial look and feel.
The Sport of Life 08 campaign takes cue from retro futurism combining heritage with design innovation.