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Ellesse was founded by Leonardo Servadio in Perugia in 1959. The name Ellesse derives from the initials of Servadio’s name, “L.S.”

Ellesse grew in popularity during the 1970s as a producer of skiwear such as quilted jackets and ski pants. In 1979, Ellesse’s Jet Pant, a ski pant featuring padded knees and a wide lower leg to fit around a ski boot, was included in an event at the Pompidou Centre in Paris celebrating Italian design.[1]

Another sport with which Ellesse has been closely associated since its early years is tennis. The Ellesse logo references the form of a tennis ball with the shape of the tips of a pair of skis.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, Ellesse gained a reputation for combining sportswear functionality with street-level fashion styling. It was one of the first sportswear brands to feature their logo prominently on the outside of its garments. During the mid-1980s, French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac worked with Ellesse, an early collaboration between a sportswear company and a fashion designer. The UK casuals/dressers adopted the brand in the ’80s as premium sportswear took off across British terrace culture.