When one hears “resort wear”, it’s doubtful that Olympic skiing or the Italian parliament comes to mind. Enter Emilio Pucci, the man who single-handedly put bright, graphic prints on the international fashion stage. With the world having to rebuild itself during the post WWII era, Pucci’s obsession with color (and lots of it) helped to inject spirit and luxury back into society.
Born in 1914 to an aristocratic family in Naples, Italy, Pucci was no stranger to fine living. He took sportsmanship seriously; accompanying the Italian Olympic ski team to the 1932 winter games. He was also very much an intellect and was awarded his doctorate in political science from the University of Florence (he’d later be elected to the Italian parliament). However, it was a fateful ski trip in Switzerland that changed the course of his life.
He had designed skiwear for a friend and the ensemble happened to get photographed by Toni Frissell of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. One editor call later, Pucci found himself designing for a story on European winter fashion. His experimentation with stretch fabrics and use of color became an overnight success. It wasn’t long before he opened his own couture design house on the Isle of Capri. Naturally, his production went from skiwear to bold and lightweight dresses, blouses and scarves.
During the 1950s and ’60s, Pucci apparel thrived, spurred on by industry leaders and Hollywood stars. Because his designs were generally constructed of wrinkle-free silk, Pucci became the go-to label for the jet set. He even went so far as to design airline uniforms, transforming the flight attendant look that would later be heralded as “The End of the Plain Plane.” Perhaps one of his most iconic creations of the time was the bubble helmet. The clear, plastic device was worn over the head like a hood and served to (stylishly) keep hairdos intact from residual runway gusts.
Indeed, the utility of Pucci’s designs made fashionable travel easy. He offered packable apparel and accessories, so that women were able to simply stack dress after dress into their suitcases. With their ability to arrive at glamorous destinations in addition to having equally glamorous garments in tow, modern day resort wear was born.
Since then, the house of Pucci had caught the eye of luxury giant Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy Group. Under LVMH, the brand has been reinforced as a fashion mainstay and to this day, continues to influence the aesthetics of luxury travel.
Grace Yco is the Digital Marketing Manager at ViX Paula Hermanny.