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Ellesse: Affare Rischioso

Original Ellesse.

Ellesse has been in the game for quite sometime. In fact, the Italian sportswear brand’s history traces back to the 1950s.

This is the time when many of the brand’s you know today were building towards the height of their identities. From footwear to fashion, it was all about capturing the spirit of a young population divided between communism and capitalism.

Leonardo Servadio, a tailor, would start the fashion journey of his own brand, naming it Ellesse. As a modest professional, there wasn’t a ton of excess in Servadio’s designs. That would make his boldest aesthetic decision even more surprising.

In the modern fashion landscape, it’s fairly difficult to find a brand that is a true OG. Specifically, it’s rare that we see too many major brands that were pioneers in a now common strategy. Frankly, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Methods such as different hem techniques and material combinations have been witnessing innovation since before World War II. Several names that were doing the innovating have either changed or disappeared. Ellesse has managed to be part of early inspired design and has somehow largely remained the same.

Ellesse was one of the first names to experiment with branding on the outside of their pieces. The idea of being so boisterous about one’s brand choice wasn’t extremely prevalent until around the 1980s, making the decision a good example of some risky business. Another impactful moment in the company’s history was its first real major release, the quilted ski jacket. Seen more recently in pieces like the Lombardy or the Lompard, this now ubiquitous design is a Servadio original. It’s that sort of thinking that allowed the brand to easily go back and forth from designing ski gear to putting together tennis pieces like the Zardini or Montefello.

Even the most cursory look through Ellesse’s catalogue shows a consistent mixing of both athletic wear and style. Aside from its own execution, it’s a notable aesthetic because the streetwear industry as a whole is trying hard to harness it. Of course, it’s not an easy mix, evidenced by some notable struggles by big names in the industry. Meanwhile, Ellesse just keeps it moving as usual.

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