From Small Town Tailor to Global Sportswear & Fashion Brand: The ellesse Story

Ellesse founder Leonardo Servadio started out as a tailor in his hometown Perugia, Italy. Like many great ideas, ellesse — which gets its name from Servadio’s initials L.S. — was a way for its founder to scratch his own itch. Born into a family of textile merchants, Servadio dreamt of fashion-forward sportswear that suited his stylish, tailored aesthetic. With nothing satisfying available, Servadio decided to apply his knowledge to redefining sportswear and, with that, ellesse was born in 1959.





In the beginning, ellesse made
apparel for two quintessentially Italian sports: skiing and tennis. Servadio’s tailored approach led to iconic designs like the Jet Pant which was included at a celebration of Italian design at the Pompidou Centre in 1979.

Fast forward 60 years, however,
and while tennis and ski live on
in ellesse’s designs and logo,
the label is as much a fashion brand
as it is a sporting one.
Here’s a look back at some of ellesse’s
most memorable designs and how
they continue to influence today’s collections.




A meeting of styles

ellesse was a pioneer in bringing tailoring techniques to the design and manufacturing of sportswear. Yet, six decades on, these two styles of apparel still appear antithetical to some. In this video interview, stylist and artist Ayishat Akanbi breaks down the stylistic, technical, and cultural crossover between tailoring and sportswear.

ellesse in 2019

Today, ellesse is known for being a fashion brand as much as it is for being a sports brand. In recent collections, its tailoring and sportswear heritage seamlessly converge with contemporary fashion trends and ellesse’s recognizable color palette and semi-palla logo are ever-present symbols of the brand’s identity and history.

Yet, now, sportswear is having a similar impact on tailoring as tailoring had on sportswear under ellesse and Servadio’s influence. Today’s tailored garments take as much from streetwear and sportswear as they do Italian traditions and people are subverting the association of suiting with drudgery.

Honoring ellesse’s past, here’s how we shot and styled ellesse’s current offering.




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