Escada: A Knowledge of Beauty
Escada has had both great times and difficult times. There are Escada establishments of some kind in 60 countries around the world, mostly selling in North America, Europe, and Asia. After a bout with bankruptcy in 2009, the company is coming back strong, trying to recapture the momentum it had when first founded in 1978.
A Fateful Alliance
The brand that would become Escada started with someone who was not a designer, at least not at first, but a model. Margaretha, a Swedish model, was one of the best the firm Jacques Fath had to offer. She modeled their new collections, but she also took an interest in how the clothing was created, piecing out the design process for herself.
She happened to meet Wolfgang Ley, a young entrepreneur, at a racetrack, and they would fall in love, in time. Together, they started their own design house in Munich, Germany, and called it Escada. Margaretha handled the design portion of the business, creating the new collections, while Wolfgang handled the marketing, sales, and bookkeeping.
Margaretha’s eye for colors and patterns made the new brand very popular. She made great use of embroidery and exquisitely elaborate knit. Escada expanded rapidly, becoming a true force in the fashion industry. Their success was attributed to four factors: color, fit, elegance, and quality. These were the hallmarks of Escada design.
Escada was soon an international brand, and went public in 1986. They were able to launch an offshoot brand, Escada Sport, in 1994, then expanded their work to include accessories like shoes and bags. Major companies, like Proctor and Gamble, began to approach Escada for collaborative efforts.
In 1990, Escada established yet another label, Escada Beaute, this one for fragrances and other beauty products. The first was called Margaretha Ley, after the woman who conceived of the company. Just like their fashions, Escada’s fragrances were also immensely popular, consistently selling through the 1990s and into the 21st century.
This first fragrance came in a charmingly-designed heart shaped bottle. Margaretha Ley herself was the inspiration for this fragrance which also bears her name. This seductively feminine fragrance contains notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, hyacinth, and orris, and tinges of spice and balsamic tones. Luxiourously sweet peach, orange blossoms, and coconut infuse it, along with the warmth of vanilla and sandalwood. It hints of both exotic places and the sensuality of a beautiful woman.
Escada fragrances are all wrapped in designs reminiscent of their fashions: bright and very unique. Many believe their focus on mixing fruity and floral essences created the fruity-floral genre. One prime example of this is Escada, one of the earliest fragrances produced by the brand. It opens with mandarin orange, peach, hyacinth, bergamot, asfoetida, and coconut; the heart is tuberose, carnation, orange blossom, narcissus, ylang-ylang, iris, and frangipani; the bottom notes are composed from heliotrope, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, and musk. This exotic, sweet, floral, fruity scent is perfect for evening wear.
Incredible Me is part of a new fragrance series from Escada, launched in 2008. The bottle is carefully shaped to resemble the logo of the House of Escada. The perfume uses tiramisu, orchid, clementine, honeysuckle, vanilla, and sandalwood to live up to its name, producing a truly incredible aroma.
Desire Me was a more seductive entry into the series, which used the beautiful actress Olivia Wilde as its face. It mixes sweet, tart and juicy citruses with fresh green notes and floral tones. The base is made from unusual notes that are undeniably desirable – cheesecake, dark chocolate, cookies, coffee, and tiramisu, making for a scent that is almost literally delicious.
Absolutely Me was launched in August 2010. This sparkling and refreshing fragrance is sweet and lively, with soft and warm vanilla in its trailing notes. As with the other two in the series, the bottle is shaped like the company logo.
A New Age of Escada
The early fragrances, inspired by Margaretha Ley and her life became classics of the fashion industry, but dark times were ahead for the label. Margaretha succumbed to cancer in 1992 at the age of 56. The company entered a rough period, eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2009. Fortunately, this was not the end for this important part of the fashion world.
Megha Mittal acquired the name in 2009 and strove to give the company new life, producing new lines of clothing and fragrances like the Me collection. Today, Escada has faithful customers like the Crown Princess of Sweden, and Sarah, Duchess of York.
The new age of Escada is looking fairly bright.