Guess who's still flirty at 30?

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Fashion designers Paul Marciano, left, and Maurice Marciano with Paris Hilton.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Fashion designers Paul Marciano, left, and Maurice Marciano with Paris Hilton. Alberto Rodriguez Berliner Studiobeimagesap

WE'VE all been on one of those holidays - a short break in a place so idyllic that talk of never leaving is only half in jest.

The Marcianos know all about finding that sense of belonging. After visiting Los Angeles in the late Seventies for a family holiday, the four brothers (Georges, Armand, Maurice and Paul), from the South of France, decided to make the city their home.

Falling in love with their new environment, and also with the very idea of Americana, the Marcianos decided to put their energy to use, creating a denim brand which combined the glamour of Hollywood with a dash of French chic.

And so Guess was born.

The name was taken from a billboard advertising slogan: "Guess what's in the new Mac?" that they passed frequently on the way to their Olympic Boulevard headquarters.

For four Frenchmen, deciding to create jeans for Americans was a risky venture akin to selling ice to the Eskimos. But the brothers persisted and, in 1981, created the Marilyn jean - a slim-fitting, stonewashed, three-zip, ankle-style named after one of America's most iconic blondes.

Aligning their product with Monroe proved a shrewd move that would presage the long relationship the brand would grow to have with some of the world's most beautiful, and sexy, women.

Of the stellar beauties who have fronted the campaigns Claudia Schiffer has had one of the most lasting relationships: she has featured in six campaigns between 1989 and 1991 and stars in the brand's 30th anniversary campaign. At first, the Marcianos struggled to find an outlet for their product, largely because of the stonewashed denim, which at that point was still a rarity in the US market, as well as scepticism about French gentlemen making such a symbolically American product.

But after sending a pair of jeans and a handwritten note to selected department stores, they received their first order for 24 pairs from Bloomingdales in December 1981, which reportedly flew off the rails.

By the close of its first year of business in America, Guess was stocked in all of the major department stores in the country.

This was no small feat at a time when the average jeans wearer was a blue-collar American worker, but by offering innovative cuts and washes, Guess became one of the pioneers of designer denim. From relatively humble beginnings with a single stockist, over the past 30 years Guess has grown exponentially to become a lifestyle brand with more than 1500 stores in 87 countries to date.

>> Read more lifestyle stories.

 

Topics:  america, fashion, fashion brand, guess, marciano



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