“Scarves Are Really ‘In’ Right Now”
Emilio pucci, famously known as “the Prince of Prints,” left his signature mark on fashion with designs that were a staple in the wardrobes of such fashion icons as Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. While the Italian-born designer was at the height of his fame in the 1960s (think Jacqueline Susann and Maria Callas), his bold, graphic patterns, inspired by his trips to Africa, India and Bali, still look fresh today.
After a photograph of a ski outfit he designed in 1947 landed in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Pucci went on to build an empire encompassing everything from ready-to-wear to handbags to fragrance. His radical, free-thinking approach won him the assignments to design the futuristic uniforms for Qantas and Braniff International Airlines as well as the logo for the Apollo 15 space mission.
In the late 1980s, Emilio’s daughter, Laudomia Pucci, took control of the company. In 2000, the Pucci family formed an alliance with LVMH. Since that time, several talented designers have helmed the house, including Christian Lacroix, Matthew Williamson (whose last collection is in stores now) and the recently appointed Peter Dundas, who will debut his first collection for Pucci in Fall 2009. Gulfshore Life’s Style Council checked in with Laudomia Pucci to talk about what’s haute right now.
Pucci is an iconic brand that has survived so many fashion cycles. What is it about the aesthetic that has allowed it to endure?
Women love the comfortable, luxurious print pieces that are just so easy to wear. Emilio Pucci was inspired by women who travel all over the world—he designed pieces for them that they could just put on and feel powerful and beautiful. The effect has always been a joyful modern celebration of fashion.
The house is renowned for its prints. Have the current artistic directors gone to the archival files or used vintage designs in the recent collections?
The headquarters of the company are located in Florence at Palazzo Pucci. Emilio Pucci set up the couture house there and originally showed his collection in the ballroom. That is where the print archive is housed. The prints have always been inspired by the Mediterranean landscape and exotic cultures. Pucci loved to bring out those colors. The prints were really designed for someone who loved the natural beauty of those locales. All of our new prints are always inspired by the archives and use the same methods of looking at the bright shades found in nature. All of the designers find inspiration in looking back over Emilio Pucci’s designs. For spring, one of our prints is inspired by “Vivara,” one of Emilio’s most well-known prints.
With Peter Dundas as the new creative director, what can Pucci fans expect to see from him?
He is such a great designer with an impressive resume. He will be doing the ready-to-wear collection and working with a team on accessories.
Pucci is worn year-round in Southwest Florida. Is it as popular in cooler climates?
Florida is very important to us. The weather is ideal for the kind of clothes Emilio Pucci designed, but we also have the gateway for other countries here. South American, Central American and European tourists all come to Florida, so we get a great mixture of clients in the boutique here. But actually, Pucci’s first designs were ski wear. He was on Italy’s Olympic ski team, and he designed their uniforms. We have always done very well with winter jackets, long coats and boots.
How can a woman integrate Pucci into her wardrobe to update her look this season?
Scarves are really “in” right now, and we’ve been doing very well with them. They open up your whole wardrobe to Pucci. If you always wear black and are a bit reluctant about prints, this is a great way to try them. They look fabulous with white T-shirts. Once you get a taste of our prints, you’re hooked! We also have some wonderful printed T-shirts that can dress up suits and still looked professional.
Pucci recently launched a virtual boutique. Why? Will there be exclusive pieces available on the site?
This makes Pucci accessible to clients who do not have a Pucci boutique nearby. The site will carry a lot of the same pieces we do, but not as much as we can. A client can find more of the commercial pieces there, but the specialty pieces will still mostly be available in the boutiques.
Pucci has always been worn by some of the world’s most famous women. Which of today’s stars wear the collections?
Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger have all worn the collections.
What’s the mood and dominant color stories for spring?
There are definitely a lot of bright colors—greens, golds and shades of blue. There are also some beautiful tropical prints. The mood captures both the laid-back Mediterranean feel for daytime and a very happening club scene for evening.
Gulfshore Life’s Style Council
Led by Denise Cobb, the members include Penny Anderson, Patty Baker, Mary Susan Clinton, Shirlene Elkins, Dawn Hoffman, Susie McCurry, Amy Oshier and Cynthia Sherman.