Did you know…
21 October 2008
- The ellesse half ball logo inspired the shape of the glass and steel company office complex built in Ellera in the 1980s. The building was wrapped up by a metal and fabric structure that revolved as the sun changed its position, so that there was no need to install any curtains or blinds in the offices. The structure is still working.
- Game, set and match! Maybe as a foresight to the ellesse/tennis relationship, Leonardo Servadio and his brother-in-law Franco D’Attoma would make their early business decisions over a game of table tennis, with the final decision being made by the victor.
- Ellesse once had two company pets; penguins Ettore and Giorgino, who followed the company on the slopes whenever there was a skiing competition. Unfortunately, as they got bigger they started destroying Leonardo Servadio’s garden, and for their own (and the garden’s) sakes, they were donated to the Verona Zoo.
- In 1973, Vogue Italia described ellesse’s ‘Curieuse’, a baggy pair of pants that were open on the sides and worn like a sarong with a bra top, as “The sexiest option for the summer”. A ‘Curieuse’ sample can be admired at the ellesse Museum in Perugia.
- In 1979, ellesse was invited to exhibit its ‘Jet Pant’ at the George Pompidou Centre during an event dedicated to classic Italian design. The skiing trousers were considered on par with such icons as the portable Olivetti typewriter ‘Lettera 22’ and this exhibit solidified ellesse’s stamp as part of the history of contemporary industrial design.
- In February 1986, Princess Caroline of Monaco appeared on the cover of Paris Match wearing an ellesse woollen hat. To show his appreciation, Servadio and his family sent her a very special present, a wooden box made by a local artisan containing one thousand “Baci” (kisses) chocolates, a Perugian speciality. The photograph on Paris Match caused a minor scandal as it seemed Princess Caroline had preferred an Italian product to a French one.
- The collaboration in the mid-80s with French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac marked a significant event for the history of fashion: this was one of the first times a sportswear company and a haute couture designer had worked together. In later years ellesse continued their pioneering collaboration trend by also producing a sportswear collection for Valentino.
- In 1989, ellesse launched a skiing line called ‘Stardust’, characterised by inserts of metallic plastic textiles and 24 carat gold satin. The range became an absolute must for passionate ski lovers who wanted to “shine” on the slopes.
- As a young man, designer Brunello Cucinelli modelled for ellesse. After founding his own company, Cucinello asked Leonardo Servadio to return the favour and model some of his most luxurious cashmere creations for L’Uomo Vogue. Servadio happily obliged. In the late 1980s Cristina Servadio modelled ellesse shoes for an advertising campaign. Why opt for expensive models when your family are on hand to help out?
- The famous ‘half-ball’ ellesse logo combines the tips of a pair of skis with a cross section of a tennis ball, to symbolise the brand’s heritage in these sports. The ellesse brand is often cited as one of the first ever brands to feature their company logo on the outside of the clothes, a move copied by brands worldwide ever since.
- Sports stars that shone wearing ellesse include Boris Becker, Chris Evert, Guillermo Villas, Arantxa Sanchez and Anna Kournikova as well as Olympic skiing gold-medallist Jean-Luc Crétier and the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Hollywood veterans Brigitte Nielsen and Roger Moore have also worn ellesse.