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Escada AG
Founded1976, Munich, Germany
HeadquartersMunich, Germany
ProductsWomen's fashions, accessories, fragrances, handbags, scarves

ESCADA is an international luxury fashion group in women's designer fashion. In thirty years, Escada has become a leading name in women's fashion, often worn to red carpet events by celebrities.

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Margaretha and Wolfgang Ley founded this international fashion powerhouse in 1976. Wolfgang and Margaretha Ley met and fell in love while skiing in St. Moritz. During a trip in Portugal they placed a bet on a horse named Escada, which means “stairway” in Portuguese, and with the winnings began a new gamble in the world of high fashion. Their designs remained popular locally and quickly attained wide success in Europe in less than five years after its inception. The brand began as an upscale sportswear designer named Escada Sportliche Eleganz by SRB, however was shortened to Escada the following year.

By 1980, Escada established its name as the leading designer in luxury sportswear. Noted for its quality materials, use of color, and elegant and feminine designs, Escada successfully widened its clientele and by 1981 established a name in many categories of womenswear, specializing in formal wear and knitwear. In 1982, the company opened their first store in the United States on Fifth Avenue in New York City and opened its first store in Asia the following year in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong boutique became a worldwide landmark, marked for its use of gold in the store's design. The entryway to the Hong Kong flagship boutique was gold-framed.

Though debuting in America in 1982, Escada did not gain national prominence until 1984 when the leading fashion and women's wear magazine Vogue published an entire edition devoted to promoting Escada. Its worldwide prominence led its 1986 IPO on the FSE to be highly anticipated and Escada's debut on the stock exchange marked the headlines in hundreds of major newspapers worldwide.

30 years later, Escada has established itself as one of the largest fashion houses in the world. Escada’s headquarters are based in Munich, Germany and Escada’s collections are available in nearly 500 locations in 60 countries. In the United States, the company has 15 boutiques in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Texas, and Washington State. Escada has opened several larger stores carrying various fashion lines including Escada, Escada Sport, and Couture and Accessories. The largest of these stores is located in Vancouver, Canada, and is 16,000 square feet. Others are in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Honolulu.

Like many fashion houses, Escada also has a line of fragrances for both women and men.

As of October 1, 2006, Damiano Biella took over the function as Creative Director at ESCADA AG. In this newly created function the 35-year old Italian is responsible for the comprehensive presentation of the brand. He followed Brian Rennie (43), who was responsible for the development of collections as Design Director since 1994 and who has now left the ESCADA-Group.

Damiano Biella has been Design Director with the Italian fashion brand Valentino in Rome since 2003, with responsibility for the development of the Valentino lines Couture, Ready to Wear, Roma, Uomo (Men) as well as the license business. Prior to this assignment Biella worked for five years as Creative Director at Carolina Herrera in New York. His other professional stations included the Parisian luxury label Celine (LVHM Group) and Gucci.

A major change in the management of Escada in late May 2007 replaced former CEO Frank Rheinbolt (40) with Jean-Marc Loubier (51) in said position. Loubier has been a key executive for LVMH as well as vice president of Louis Vuitton and CEO of Celine. His broad knowledge in the luxury segment shall make ESCADA more important in the leather goods business. As he said: "ESCADA is a wonderful brand and I am proud to join its team. Together we will define and implement a precise strategy based on the development of a strong brand-identity, re-launch ESCADA ready-to-wear, create a leather goods business, reorganize the retail network and focus on our core markets."[1]

Controversy over fur

On October 18, 2007, the group, "Global Network Against the Fur Industry" [1], which is made up of organizations such as In Defense of Animals, launched a campaign against Escada, in the form of a day of action, in hopes of getting Escada to stop selling fur. According to their website, on October 18, there were 40 actions against Escada in 14 countries.[2] On October 6, 2007, Escada headquarters were vandalized by the Animal Liberation Front. [3]


  1. ^ ESCADA Press Release May 30, 2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Escada". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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