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Guess was founded by Georges, Armand, Paul, and Maurice Marciano, four brothers raised in Marseilles, France. They moved to California from France in 1977 and founded the company in 1981. Seed money to start the business came from the Nakash family, owners of the Jordache denim empire. Their first product was a three-zipper style of jeans they named “Marilyn” (Style # 1015). Department stores and fashion critics were initially reluctant to carry the new ‘stone washed denim’ jeans, but in December when Bloomingdale’s finally agreed with Georges to stock two dozen pairs of the new jeans as a favor to the brothers. They sold out quickly.
They began advertising in 1982 and introduced their iconic black-and-white ads in 1985. The ads have won numerous Clio Awards. Their fashion models have included a number of widely-recognized supermodels, many of whom first achieved prominence via the ad campaigns.
In the 1985 Robert Zemeckis movie, Back to the Future, Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) wore distinctive Guess denim clothing, reportedly designed specifically for the film.
The Guess emblem with the famous question mark in the center.
During the 1980s Guess was one of the most popular brands of jeans. The company was one of the first companies to create designer jeans. While the first jeans were for women, in 1983 a men’s line debuted. In 1984 Guess introduced its new line of watches known as “Guess”, “Guess Steel”, and the “Guess Collection” The watch line is still in existence today, and has been joined by a number of other accessory sidelines. In 1984, they also introduced a line of baby’s clothes, called “Baby Guess”.
Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. In 1938, Gucci expanded and a boutique was opened in Rome. Guccio was responsible for designing many of the company’s products. In 1947, Gucci introduced the Bamboo handle handbag, which is still a company mainstay. During the 1950s, Gucci also developed the trademark striped webbing, which was derived from the saddle girth, and the suede moccasin with a metal horsebit.
His wife Aida Calvelli had a large family, though only the sons—Vasco, Aldo, Ugo, and Rodolfo—would play a role in leading the company. After Guccio’s death in 1953, Aldo helped lead the company to a position of International prominence, opening the company’s first boutique in New York. Rodolfo initially tried to start an acting career as a matinee idol but soon returned to help direct the company. Even in Gucci’s fledgling years, the family was notorious for its ferocious infighting. Disputes regarding inheritances, stock holdings, and day-to-day operations of the stores often divided the family and led to alliances. Gucci expanded overseas, board meetings about the company’s future often ended with tempers flaring and luggage and purses flying. Gucci targeted the Far East for further expansion in the late 1960s, opening stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo. At that time, the company also developed its famous GG logo (Guccio Gucci’s initials), the Flora silk scarf (worn prominently by Hollywood actress Grace Kelly), and the Jackie O shoulder bag, made famous by Jackie Kennedy, the wife of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
Armani was the first designer to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) under 18, after model Ana Carolina Reston starved herself to death due to anorexia nervosa.
Armani broadcast his collection live on the Internet, a first in the world of haute couture, on 24 January 2007. The Armani Privé Spring/Summer 2007 fashion show was broadcast via MSN and Cingular cellular phones.
After LG teamed with Prada to introduce the LG Prada phone, Samsung joined Armani to design the Giorgio Armani phone.
Armani designed made-to-measure suits for Christian Bale’s character Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. Advertisements featuring “Giorgio Armani for Bruce Wayne” were released in 2008 with pictures of Christian Bale wearing Armani suits. However, Bale later claimed in a GQ interview that the campaign was produced without his permission.
In the 1990s, Armani opened his chain of Armani Cafes and developed a new fragrance, Giorgio Armani Neve – numerous colognes and fragrances have since been marketed by Armani.
Armani opened his first restaurant in the U.S., Armani/Ristorante. The restaurant opened in New York in February 2009 and has been rated by the Zagat Survey.
He did also 5 best sellers Emporio Armani CD compilations with the italian sound designer Matteo Ceccarini.
He has extended the brand into multiple other categories such as Armani Casa (upscale furniture – 16 stores), Armani-branded Dolci (confectionary), and Armani-branded Fiori (flowers).
Armani struck a deal with a Dubai-based property group Emaar to come up with a chain of 14 Armani branded hotels and resorts by 2011 to be exclusively decorated with furnishings from Armani/Casa. The hotel is named Armani Hotel and is located in Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It opened on 4 January 2010.
The Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is an American clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. The company has five primary brands: the namesake Gap banner, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. As of September 2008, Gap, Inc. has approximately 135,000 employees and operates 3,076 stores worldwide, of which 2,551 are in the United States. Gap, Inc. remains the largest specialty apparel retailer in the U.S., though it has recently been surpassed by the Spanish-based Inditex Group as the world’s largest apparel retailer.
Despite the company’s publicly traded status, the Fisher family remains deeply involved in Gap, Inc.’s business and collectively owns a significant quantity of the company’s stock.
Donald Fisher served as Chairman of the Board until 2004 and remained on the board until his death on September 27, 2009. His wife and their son, Robert J. Fisher, also serve on Gap’s board of directors. Robert Fisher succeeded his father as chair in 2004 and also became president and CEO on an interim basis following the resignation of Paul Pressler in 2007.
Glenn K. Murphy is the current CEO of the company. Previous Gap, Inc. CEOs include Millard Drexler and Paul Pressler.
The Ellus is a clothing label founded in 1972 by Brazilian businessman Nelson Alvarenga. Is present in Brazil, Latin America, Asia, USA and the Middle East. Stands out for its performance in the market for jeans wear.
The company is headed by the couple Alvarenga Nelson, president and founder, and Adriana Bozon, creative director.
Element Skateboards (originally called Underworld Element Skateboards) is a skateboard manufacturer and surfwear retailer based in Irvine, California.
It is a subsidiary of Billabong International.
The company was founded in 1992 by Johnny Schilleriff as a collaboration called Underworld Element Skateboards. The struggling company was later absorbed by Schilleriff and the “Underworld” portion of the name dropped.
The company sponsors Hunter Kreck, Brent Atchley,Bucky Lasek, Bam Margera, Chad Muska, Chad TimTim, Darrell Stanton, Jeremy Wray, Levi Brown, Mike Vallely, Ray Barbee, Tony Tave, and Vanessa Torres. The company portrays itself as active in eco-friendly endeavors, community causes and attempts to raise awareness of environmental causes through its “Power to the Planet” initiative.
Company stores are located in New York City, Honolulu, Orlando (Universal CityWalk), Nottingham and Sydney.
Diesel S.p.A. is an Italian design company. It is best known for clothing aimed at the young adult market, particularly jeans, but the brand can now be found on everything from underwear to fragrances, cars, furniture and even sex toys. The company is owned by its founder Renzo Rosso, and is based in Breganze in northern Italy.
Diesel’s Creative Director and head designer is Wilbert Das who has worked for Diesel since 1988. Wilbert started as a designer on the Male, Accessories, Leather, and Kids lines. He rose quickly to head the style office and creative areas of Diesel, and in 1993 was given the official title of Creative Director, with responsibilities ranging from directing all product design as well as all communication campaigns. From clothing and accessory design to advertising, new media, merchandising, retail and interior design (:including stores, showrooms, offices, hotels), planning of fashion shows and events, as well as developing new brand extensions such as houseware, furniture and even automobiles. Literally all aspects of the Diesel brand’s style and image fell under Wilbert’s responsibility.
Wilbert Das left Diesel in late 2009 amid rumors of irreconcilable differences with CEO Rosso over the future direction of the company.
Diadora is the only Italian athletic footwear and apparel manufacturer to still make some of its products in Italy, a tradition that began in 1948 when the company’s founder, Marcello Danieli, first began working in the trade as a young boy.
Danieli, helped by his wife, managed to successfully launch his first product, mountain climbing boots. During the 1950s, a reputation for excellence and quality helped the company grow and become a familiar name throughout the Italian market.
During the economic boom of the ’60s, people began to enjoy prosperity and increased recreation. Skiing became popular and Danieli once again met the needs of the market by manufacturing ski boots and the first apres-ski boots.
Next, Diadora introduced running shoes and shortly thereafter, tennis shoes. With the ’70s came a young generation whose explosive interest in athletics initiated a boom in the sporting goods industry. Based originally on the renowned Italian artisan techniques, Diadora’s shoes became more and more technologically advanced, thanks to cooperation from champions such as Guillermo Vilas, Martin Mulligan, and the legendary Björn Borg.
The mid-’70s also marked Diadora’s entry into the football category, aided by Roberto Bettega, who provided invaluable consulting information. Diadora America is the #3 brand in the market share in football (soccer).
On 30 June 1998, Invicta, an outdoor athletics equipment, company was acquired by Diadora.
In 2007, Diadora signed a contract with football club NK Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia.
In 2008, Diadora SpA signed a joint venture with Win Hanverky Holdings Limited forming a new company called Winor International Company Limited that owns the trademark “DIADORA” in China, Hong Kong, and Macau and will manufacture, design, promote, distribute, and sell products bearing the “DIADORA” in those countries.
In June 2009, Diadora reached an agreement with Italian shoe-making company Geox’s founder and chairman Mario Moretti Polegato to buy its assets through his family’s investment arm, LIR.
Diadora supplies referees kits in the Italian Serie A, Serie B, Scottish Premier League, Divisions One, Two and Three and all lower levels of football throughout Scotland, and the Romanian Liga I, Liga II, Indonesia Super League, Turkey Turkcell Super League.
The Paul Gallico novella Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris (1958, UK title Flowers for Mrs Harris) tells the story of a London charlady who falls in love with her employer’s couture wardrobe and decides to go to Paris to purchase herself a Dior ballgown.
Adam and the Ants released a song entitled “Christian D’or” as a b-side to their hit 1981 single “Prince Charming”, which became a fan favorite.
The Deathrock band Christian Death is named in reference to Dior.
In the Broadway Musical Evita the song “Rainbow High” says, “I came from the people, they need to adore me. So Christian Dior me from my head to my toes”
In 2006, singer Morrissey released a song titled “Christian Dior” as a b-side to the single “In the Future When All’s Well.” The song uses Dior’s life as a comparison to the songwriter’s life, where he seems to believe both have been wasted perfecting a single thing (Dior with fashion, Morrissey with music) and ignored all the good things life had to offer.
A perfume named Christian Dior is used in Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as an influential symbol placed at critical plot points throughout.
In Lady Gaga’s music video for Paparazzi, she is seen wearing four rings on her right hand that spell out “Dior”.
In 2010, Christina Aguilera released a song from her album Bionic called WooHoo featuring Nicki Minaj. Nicki sings a part of the song that says “Keep me and Chrissy in Christian Dior.”
Chanel S.A., commonly known as “Chanel” ‘ (English pronunciation: /ʃəˈnɛl/), is a Parisian fashion house founded by the late couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, recognized as one of the most established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods (haute couture, ready-to-wear, handbags, perfumery, and cosmetics among others). According to Forbes, the privately held House of Chanel is jointly owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer who are the great-grandsons of the early (1924) Chanel partner Pierre Wertheimer.
The company has had many high-profile celebrities as spokesmodels, including Catherine Deneuve (1970s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel), Nicole Kidman (early 2000s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel), Audrey Tautou (current Chanel No.5 spokesmodel), Keira Knightley (current spokesmodel for Coco Mademoiselle), and most famously, Marilyn Monroe (1950s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel) pictured splashing herself with a compartment of Chanel No. 5. The image is certainly the most famous of all Chanel advertisements, and continues to be one of the most popular advertisement photos in the history of marketing, used in countless biographies, and still selling in large quantities as a poster and art piece using Marilyn Monroe as the model. Marilyn Monroe brought this perfume to fame.
Parfums Chanel was founded in 1924 by Pierre Wertheimer to produce and sell perfumes and beauty products. Theophile Bader (founder of the successful French department store Galeries Lafayette) introduced Coco to Wertheimer. Wertheimer retained 70% of Parfums Chanel, while Bader retained 20%, and Coco a modest 10%. Coco was forced to operate her couture business apart from Parfums Chanel. In 1924, Coco also introduced her first costume jewelry which were a pair of pearl earrings, one black, one white. Along with the success of her haute couture business, Coco expanded her “social desirability and her personal legend.” A new love interest in her life was the Duke of Westminster. She introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and in 1926, the ‘little black dress,’ and a tweed, inspired by visits to Scotland. Soon, Coco operated a boutique near the Louvre.
As the couture Chanel and Parfums Chanel gained success, business relations between Coco and Pierre were sour. She resented the partnership with Pierre Wertheimer and believed she deserved more than 10% of the profits, and believed that the Wertheimers were exploiting her talents for their own personal gain. Wertheimer reminded Coco that he had funded her venture, and that he had made her a wealthy woman.
Coco hired René de Chambrun as her attorney for renegotiating the terms with the Wertheimers. but this failed.