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Vintage Ellesse fashion


A big Ellesse fan's view of the company:
A former Ellesse executive's (Matt Chamlin's) view of the company:


"Ellesse - another traditional and noble Italian sportswear brand that was highly popular during the early to mid 1980's. Just to name a few prominent  clients: Guillermo Vilas, Chris Evert (late 1981 was also the beginning of the best Ellesse clothing from Vilas and Evert Lloyd, and 1982-1983 saw Ellesse on the pinnacle of its class), Hana Mandlikova, Johan Kriek and, of course, Boris Becker. 1000's of junior players wore Ellesse during it's heyday.  World leaders, Muhammad Ali, The King of Jordan, Italian actors and actresses, Princess Caroline etc. proudly presented themselves in the classis Italian fashions. And now?  Virtually nobody and nothing.  Unfortunately by late 1985-1986 things started to go downhill for brand... particularly when the the tennis tour's started putting restrictions on the size of LABEL one could wear on ones shirts/shorts. You still see some of the "larger labels" early 1982, but by late 1985 (really starting with Boris at Wimbledon) Ellesse starting using a slightly smaller "ellesse" and "half tennis ball" badge. Also by this time, Nike started to show up on the tour and really hurt the smaller and more exclusive Ellesse brand. 

So what has become of Ellesse nowadays?  NOT MUCH really.  A website that is constantly down/inactive, virually no prominent professional men's or woman's player on tour, and literally no proper promotion outside the UK. While other legendary Italian sports fashion brands such as Fila and Sergio Tacchini have rose to prominence again with their expensive reissues, Ellesse has sadly fallen behind in this area.  There have been some brief "reissues" on their behalf but NONE of them are proper color or material reproductions (unfortunately)."



"Your web site is terrific, but as a former Ellesse executive (President, Ellesse USA 1988-1990) I can assure you that much of what is written about Ellesse in your web site is not correct.  In 1991, Ellesse USA had a higher level of dollar sales than in any other year--by far.  In this period, Evert, Krickstein, Fernandez and many, many others wore the clothing--Kelesi, Sloane and an amateur named Capriati.  Ellesse's decline came far later than you talk about and it really declined starting in 1992--not in 1985!  In fact, Ellesse's international and USA sales rose each year from 1980 until into the 1990's.  While it is hard to measure, I feel pretty sure that the number of top 100 men and women wearing the clothing was pretty steady in this period as well and did not decline until into the 1990's. 

As for your comments on the size of the Ellesse logo getting smaller in 1985, I can assure you that you are wrong.  In 1990, Evert and all the other pros wore a special large size logo and "ball"--these were attached to their clothing, but what consumer bought in the stores was smaller.  The size of this "pro" style logo did not change from the early 1980's and was used well into the 1990's.  I know this for a fact--I have plenty of items from the early 1980's through the early 1990's in my possession including items worn by Becker, Evert, etc.  This larger logo met the restrictions that were put in place.  You should also know that the restrictions varied by who sanctioned the tournament--Grand Slams were different from other tournaments and all of this varied somewhat over the years.  However, Ellesse's logos for professionals was the same from the early 1980's until into the 1990's.
From the early 1980's until I became President of Ellese in 1988 and for some years beyond, I was a frequent visitor to Ellesse in Perugia, Italy and was familiar with Ellesse's sales numbers, etc. all of that time.  You are judging Ellesse's rise and fall through subjective judgment measured by what you think you saw--not by facts as measured by dollar volume."






















Ellesse Polo shirts and track tops you can buy at:

80s casuals classics /
Planet Clothing 93 Ltd