THE ITALIAN PRINCE OF PRINTS | RENAISSANCE MAN EMILIO PUCCI

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Emilio Pucci is a name synonymous with incredibly chic prints that rocked runways, movie stars, and rich socialites alike during the ’60s & ’70s. (Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis were among the many fashionable tastemakers to follow him — and Marilyn Monroe was even buried in a Puci dress.) His look was so signature in its modern, graphic designs and rich colorations that you could literally spot a Pucci a mile away. Emilio Pucci’s look became iconic, and lives on as an ever-present influence in womenswear today.

His design talent notwithstanding– I’ve always found Pucci’s personal story even more colorful than his designs. Born with noble blood, the young Pucci enjoyed a life of academic excellence (earning his Master’s degree Social Science from Reed College in Oregon, along with his Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Milan), civil service (Pucci rose to the ranks of Captain and served as a torpedo bomber pilot in the Italian Army during WWII, he even befriended Mussolini’s daughter and aided her escape from Hitler’s vengeful grasp), and was an accomplished athlete who was on Italy’s Olympic Ski team. It was his love of skiing that first led him to design outfits for his team at Reed college. In 1948, while on a trip to Switzerland, Pucci’s striking ski designs this time caught the eye of a Harper’s Bazaar photographer, and set his career as a fashion designer in motion. Stanley Marcus was an early supporter of Pucci’s and was instrumental in establishing him in the US. The rest, as they say, is history.

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1959, Florence, Italy — The legendary fashion designer, Emilio Pucci, with examples of his work. — Image by © David Lees/Corbis

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1959, Capri, Italy  — The Florentine fashion designer, Emilio Pucci, lunching with his wife Christina. Pucci once had the guitarist who is serenading them flown to London to lend authentic Italian atmosphere to a show. I love this picture. — Image by © David Lees/Corbis

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1959, Capri, Italy  — The Florentine fashion designer, Emilio Pucci, lunching with his wife Cristina. Pucci had been introduced to the beautiful Roman Baronessa, Cristina Nannini, at his boutique in Capri. Pucci would later marry her, proudly claiming– “I married a Botticelli.” — Image by © David Lees

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1965, New York — Emilio Pucci, leading Italian fashion designer from Florence, Italy, visited backstage with Barbra Streisand tonight at the Winter Garden Theater to talk about proposed designs for the star of “Funny Girl.”  The visit gave Barbra a chance to practice her Italian. — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

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1963, London — The fashion designers (l to r) Emilio Pucci, Pierre Cardin and Mary Quant with fashion expert James Laver at the Hilton Hotel in London, during the rehearsals for the presentation of the International Fashion Awards, 1963. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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1966, Acapulco, Mexico — Fashionable Bunch: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Right) and his wife chat with T. Reed Vreeland (Left) and Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci at an Acapulco party. Pucci hosted the party with members of Braniff International’s executive set. He designed uniforms for employees of the airline, which recently became the first U. S. line to offer direct flights to Acapulco. — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

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1967 — Legendary Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci and his wife, the Baronessa Cristina Nannini. — Image by © Yousuf Karsh

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May, 1960 — Fashion designer Emilio Pucci showing a new printed scarf to clients in the showroom of his salon.  — Image by © David Lees

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May, 1960 — Fashion designer Emilio Pucci in his salon.   — Image by © David Lees

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ca. 1964, Florence, Italy — Emilio Pucci standing before a fresco in the Palazzio Pucci — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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1964, Florence, Italy — The legendary designer Emilio Pucci on a photo shoot styling the model himself. — Image by © David Lees/Corbis

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ca. 1964 — The Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci watches over his signature garments being made.  — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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Florence, Italy — Granaiolo villa owned by designer Emilio Pucci. — Image by © Massimo Listri/Corbis

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THE TSY FASHION FLASHBACK | AMERICAN MENSWEAR DESIGNER ICONS

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1950′s BRIONI ROMAN STYLE TAKES TINSELTOWN | SACKING IVY STYLE

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4 thoughts on “THE ITALIAN PRINCE OF PRINTS | RENAISSANCE MAN EMILIO PUCCI

  1. This Pucci post just proves it – the Selvedge Yard is the “go to” place for cool stuff. Over the years I’ve been visiting the site on a daily basis, the collection of dedicated foot soldiers who compile and contributes have managed to nail a collection of baby boomer history, photographs unmatched on the net. The scope and breadth of subjects covered, fashion, stars, music, location, interiors, cars, bikes is simply breathtaking. Well Done. Regarding Emilio Pucci I used to sell his ties at the Myer store in Brisbane Australia back in 1977 and wore one to my 21st birthday in 1979, with a Pierre Cardon black velvet suit and a white Dino Puccini tie. I was recently in Rome and bought one at their store just off the Via del Corso as a sort of retro gesture. To see him mentioned here. I’m not surprised. Well Done team!!

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