European Designers (Italian & German)
Margaretha Ley of Escada, Swedish (German based)
Swedish born Margaretha Ley (and her husband Wolfgang) founded Escada (named after a racehorse) in 1976 in Munich, Germany.
She had worked as a fashion model in the 1950s and after, studied tailoring in Stockholm.
She was known for her bold, feminine designs. Escada’s distinctive combinations of colour, print and pattern with exclusive embroidery allowed the company to stand out and they quickly gained huge success. Diana, Princess of Wales was a customer of Escada, famously wearing an Escada coat for a formal visit to Berlin in 1987.
Ley won many awards and was honoured with the Fashion Prize of the city of Munich during the opening of Munich fashion week in 1988.
Ley passed away in 1992 and design duties were handed over to Michael Stolzenburg.
We have a few Escada pieces available in our store, including a 1980s star print pair of shorts, an 80s black velvet skirt suit and a pink 90s jacket.
Donatella Versace, Italian
Donatella Versace is one of the world’s most well known female fashion designers. She is the sister of Versace’s founder Gianni Versace. Donatella was born in Italy and her mother was a dressmaker. She became her brother’s muse and because of their close relationship, Gianni gave Donatella her own label (a diffusion line of Versace) ‘Versus’ in 1989, which ran until 2005. It was known for its distinctive rock-chic look, which Donatella favoured.
In 1993, she created the Young Versace line.
Gianni was murdered in 1997 and she subsequently became creative director of the company. A year later, she launched her first haute couture show for Versace Atelier.
One of her most iconic designs is the famous jungle dress worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 Grammy awards. It became an international sensation and is the reason for the creation of Google images after being downloaded 600,000 within 24 hours of the Grammys night!
In 2018, Donatella was the first woman to be named as the Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in the UK and in China.
We have a bunch of Versace men’s suits and blazers available in the shop, as well as a Versus women’s blazer, wool dress and wool pants.
Romeo Gigli, Italian
Romeo Gigli is an Italian fashion designer described by the Los Angeles Times as single-handedly changing the course of fashion in the 1980s.
He was born into a wealthy family and originally studied architecture. When his parents died, he dropped his studies and spent years travelling.
He moved to New York in 1977, where he frequented Studio 54. He became noticed for his personal style and was asked to design a collection for the designer Piero Dimitri. Thereafter, he returned to Italy and worked as a design consultant. He launched his own business and debuted a 25 piece collection in 1985. It was bought by international retailers and he started to gain a strong reputation with romantic, anachronistic designs.
He was also designing for Callaghan, where he replaced Gianni Versace as director.
He caused a renaissance in elaborate beading, drapery and luxury fabrics. His hallmarks became asymmetry, shawl collars, dropped shoulders, narrow fitted trousers and tulip shaped skirts. He was the antithesis of 80s power dressing. Alexander McQueen became his assistant in 1989.
Sadly, at the height of his success, he lost control of his business but continued to collaborate with other designers and brands. He designed his last collection for Callaghan in 1995 and wasn’t heard from for many years thereafter. His label and name continued on without him, passing from hand to hand throughout the years. He made somewhat of a comeback in 2012 with the Hong Kong retailer Joyce and Italian brand Eggs in 2018.
He currently lives in Marrakech.
We have a beautiful pair of 80s tapestry pants that he did for Callaghan available in the shop.