Margaretha Ley, the woman who made Escada the favorite brand of queens and top executives

Escada proved to be a success from the start. By the end of its first year the company had posted a revenue of 22 million DM, it soon launched a second brand (Laurel) and in the early 1990s the Escada line featured over 1,200 pieces and included jewelry, handbags, accessories, gloves, scarves and footwear. Bought other brands like Cerrutti under license or St. John Knits, which opened the doors of department stores such as Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. They successfully launched their perfume division. And they went public.

The chain opened stores in Europe, Asia and the US, where established itself as the brand chosen by ladies who lunch, those “good women” of the American upper middle class, conservative but with a lavish and striking fashion sense.

Meanwhile, the brand wrote its iconography by signing the supermodels of the moment: Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell o Rachel Zimmermann. Among his milestones is having dressed prominent women in business, royalty or cinema: a young woman Diana of Wales he chose a yellow coat on his visit to Berlin in 1986 as a diplomatic nod, signifying all of Germany in Escada. Shortly after, in 1988, Kim Basinger she picked up her Oscar dressed by the firm. The list continues with Carolina of Monaco (today faithful to Chanel but with a memorable red dress from the German brand in the late eighties), Ivana Trump in the late 1990s (later he passed the baton on to his daughter Ivanka, which the German firm wore on several occasions during his time in the White House) or Melania Trump (who only in her first year as first lady repeated an Escada suit twice). The last to put the brand in the spotlight has been precisely these days queen sofia at the Mapfre Foundation Awards held yesterday in Madrid.

Diana of Wales in 1986 and Queen Sofia in 2021, both dressed as Escada.

@ Getty Images / Gtresonline

Tragedy struck the company in 1992, however, when Margaretha Ley died at the age of 56 from cancer. At that time his was the fourth largest fashion consortium in the world. The economic ups and downs would later hit the company, which since then has had to undergo several restructuring processes. Today it focuses on the fast-growing luxury goods markets in the Far East, especially the burgeoning Chinese market. After nearly 30 years, Escada seems to be holding out.

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