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Emilio Pucci - Fashion Designer

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Actress Nia Long - Emilio Pucci Scarf

Actress Nia Long - Emilio Pucci Scarf

Vince Bucci / Getty Images

Emilio Pucci Biography:

Known as the "Prince of Prints," designer Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) hailed from one of Florence’s oldest noble families. His country-gentleman upbringing led him to be an avid sportsman and a continuous player in Italy’s political landscape throughout his life.

Emilio Pucci in Fashion:

In 1947, Pucci started to get noticed when a photograph was circulated of Pucci wearing his own ski designs during a trip with the Reed College ski team. He proceeded the next year to design skiwear for Toni Frissell, a female friend of his who happened to be a photographer working for Harper’s Bazaar. Through the publicity secured by Frissell, Pucci went on to be recognized for his newly recognized talent.

Pucci was enlisted by Frissell’s editor to do some ski designs for an article on European winter fashion.

Emilio Pucci and Politics:

Garnering attention from the magazine, Pucci received several offers for employment before deciding to establish his own haute couture house on the Isle of Capri.

A not-too-often mentioned fact about Pucci’s early life was his close collaboration with the Mussolini dictatorship during World War II. Pucci had collaborated especially with Mussolini’s eldest daughter and her husband, also serving in the Italian Air Force under the dictator. Yet later in life his political sympathies seemed to have changed, when he successfully ran for Italian Parliament for the Italian Liberal Party in April of 1963.

Emilio Pucci's Success:

Pucci, familiar with stretch fabrics used in the ski industry, at first attempted to branch out into swimwear in 1949. The following year Pucci moved on to scarves. And then at the urging of Steven Marcus, owner of Neiman Marcus, Pucci applied his talents to women’s wear. He specialized in wrinkle-free silk dresses that became enormously popular among the famous, including Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy.

In an eloquent testimony to Pucci’s stature among American women celebrities, Marilyn Monroe was buried with one of Pucci’s dresses on.

Emilio Pucci Fashions:

After his death, Emilio's daughter Laudomia Pucci took over the company and acted as head designer. In 2000, Laudomia passed the reins to Julio Espada, who took the designs in different direction away for the colorful signature prints. This was not well received by critics. In 2003, designer Christian LaCroix joined the company as artistic director and has put the label back on the right track.

Emilio Pucci prints are undoubtedly recognizable. A cross between a futuristic look and 70's appeal, you can find the colorful psychedelic prints on everything from silk dresses to scarves and from handbags to shoes.

Shop Emilio Pucci:

You can shop for Emilio Pucci accessories, including handbags, scarves, hats, shoes and eyewear, from eLuxury.com, Net-a-Porter.com, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and at many boutiques around the world. The Emilio Pucci official website (Visit the Site) features runway videos, backstage photos and information about upcoming items.

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