The Founders

Our tribute to history makers & their stories

When it comes to established brands we have all known, used & loved for many years, we tend to identify them through their products, marketing, face of the brand & so on, often forgetting it all started from a completely different setting, that there is one person, the creative passionate soul who worked hard on establishing the brand we know today. We have dedicated this blog to: The Founders
Estee Lauder & Joseph Lauder

Estée Lauder, Inc.

The two, Estee Lauder & Joseph Lauter (last name later changed to Lauder), divorced in 1939 and remarried in 1942. Together they founded Estée Lauder, Inc., in 1946. Their first six beauty products included skin treatments, a rouge, and a makeup base. When no agency would handle their small $50,000 advertising budget, the Lauders spent the money on samples, which they gave away at fashion shows and in mailings. Their strategy succeeded. From a company employing five persons and grossing $850,000 in sales in 1958, Estée Lauder, Inc., grew to employ 1,000 people and earn $100,000,000 in sales by 1973. Estée Lauder, Inc., began selling cosmetics and fragrances internationally in the 1960s.

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Born in Algeria, the young Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was an outcast at school, he escaped into fantasy at home – devouring his mother's fashion magazines, sketching endlessly, and predicting (in the safety of his adoring family circle, at least) a future of spectacular fame. At just 17 his mother took him to Paris for a meeting she'd arranged with Michael de Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue, whom later introduced young yves to designer Christian Dior. "Dior fascinated me," Saint Laurent later recalled. "I couldn't speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side." Under Dior's tutelage, Saint Laurent's style continued to mature and gain more notice. In 1960 Saint Laurent was called back to his home country of Algeria to fight for its independence. He managed to secure an exemption based on health grounds, but when he returned to Paris, Saint Laurent found that his job with Dior had disappeared. The news, at first, was traumatic for the young, fragile designer. Then it became clear, with Saint Laurent successfully suing his former mentor for breach of contract, and collecting £48,000. This allowed the young designer the financial freedom to start his own fashion house, alongside his partner & lover, Pierre Berge. YSL quickly became a hit & for the next two decades his collections were known to be top in fashion.

Thomas Carlyle Ford


Born in Austin Texas, tom spent most of his childhood growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico & eventually moved to New York. After studying art history & architecture, in 1990 he moved to Milan to become Gucci’s designer for women’s wear. 1992 becoming the design director & after just 4 years with the company in 1994 tom ford became Creative Director of the brand, Gucci. Later gaining the same position in Yves Saint Laurent, he was made Vice Chairman of the Management Board of Gucci Group. He then resigned in 2004, During Ford’s 10 years as Creative Director at Gucci and Gucci Group, sales increased from 230 million dollars in 1994 to almost 3 billion dollars in 2003, making Gucci one of the largest and most profitable luxury brands in the world. In April 2005, Ford announced the creation of the TOM FORD brand. Ever since tom ford has been known as the top 3 luxury fashion houses internationally.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana


Domenico Dolce was born Palermo, Sicily in 1958. With his father working as a tailor, his love for fashion is credited with this. Studying fashion at a young age, he worked in his family’s clothing factory. He then moved to Milan where he worked at a design studio. Stefano Gabbana was born in Milan, Italy in 1962. He became interested in fashion while admiring the designer Fiorucci. Gabbana went on to study graphic design at university and planned to go into advertising, however after sampling the career, quit and turned to fashion. Dolce and Gabbana first met while working as assistants at an atelier in Milan, there introduction followed on to them starting their partnership in 1982, however they were still freelance designer for other companies at the time. At first struggling to take off, the pair created their own shows anywhere they could. After years of hard work, The Sicilian design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have parlayed a dreamy Mediterranean aesthetic into a billion-dollar global brand.

Gianni Versace


Since a very young age Gianni Versace worked at his mother’s dress making business. His interests also lied in architecture before moving to Milan to start as a fashion designer at 26. He became a fashion designer for Genny. Encouraged by his extreme success after a few years Versace opened his first boutique in Milan, quickly becoming an international fashion sensation. The brands *breaking rules* identity came with equal praise & criticism. The Versace logo is the head of Medusa, a Greek mythological figure. The logo came from the floor of ruins in the area of Reggio Calabria that the Versace siblings played in as children. Gianni Versace chose Medusa as the logo because she made people fall in love with her and they had no way back. Ever since his passing, Donatella Versace has done exceptional work with the brand, stepping in as the brands Artistic Director, and keeping Giannis legacy alive.

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