Emilio Pucci wasn't exactly Austin Powers -- he didn't time-travel or spy, and his teeth were good. But like Powers, he was a man of many talents. He was an aristocrat, a fighter pilot, a war hero, an Olympic skier, and... [more]
Emilio Pucci wasn't exactly Austin Powers -- he didn't time-travel or spy, and his teeth were good. But like Powers, he was a man of many talents. He was an aristocrat, a fighter pilot, a war hero, an Olympic skier, and later, a wildly successful designer, a politician, and a winemaker.
Born in 1914 to Italy's titled nobility, Marchese Emilio Pucci grew up in the family palazzo in Florence. He served as a fighter pilot, and then moved to America to attend Seattle University. In 1947 Harper's Bazaar ran a photo of the good-looking Pucci skiing in St. Moritz; he happened to be wearing an outfit of his own design, and readers went crazy for it. Before long, Pucci was in the fashion business.
The mod Marchese quickly became known for his bright, geometric prints, which were inspired by racing flags and hippie Haight-Ashbury culture. His dresses were flattering and easily packed, so his label became a favorite with the jet set, and movie stars especially liked his flourescent colors. Pucci's popularity peaked in the '60s and '70s, and as his star rose, his line grew; it soon included leather goods, shoes, stationery, linens, and underwear. Pucci was everywhere. He even landed in outer space when the Apollo 15 crew brought a flag he'd designed to the moon.
In the 1970s Pucci was elected to Italy's parliament. Upon his retirement from public life he became a vintner, producing Chianti on an estate his family had owned since the thirteenth century.
These days the Pucci fashion label, now headed by Laudomia Pucci, is enjoying renewed popularity. The family winery is still in production, but it's the highly collectible clothes that are the truly valuable vintage. [show less]