ESPRIT and MEMPHIS DESIGN
Once, in the Summer of Love ...
In 2008 the worldwide active label Esprit with stores designed by renown architects and famous logo with interrupted lettering celebrates with a special Celebration 68/08 look in Memphis design its foundation by Susie and Doug Tompkins in 1968 in San Francisco. The couple entitled their company Esprit de Corp which means “team spirit” and began to sell the first fashion line from a VW bus. Esprit’s
first headquarter was the Tompkins’ apartment in San Francisco.
Celebration 68/08 look in Memphis design style
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, Esprit has developed a special Celebration 68/08 look, which is based on the design
style of architect Ettore Sottsass, whose Memphis design for Esprit stores was so sensational in the beginning of the
1980s. The look was created to express Esprit’s motto: freshness, youth, spontaneity and sportiness. The website, shopping bags and
gift vouchers will also feature the Celebration look.
fig.: Showroom Zurich in Memphis Design; Susie & Doug Tompkins
Since the early years Esprit worked together with famous designers, architects, photographers. The significant interrupted lettering of the logo was designed by John Casado in 1978. In the 80s, rebel photographer Olivero Toscani has shot the “Real people campaign”.
During the same time the Italian Ettore Sottsass has developed the first Esprit Europe
Headquarters in Düsseldorf and the overall concept of the stores in the style of the Memphis design
The list keeps on going with architects and designers such as Aldo Cibic, Antonio Citterio, Norman
Foster or Shigeru Uchida, who all designed flagship stores in various countries, from the architecture
to the interior design.
All Esprit stores always feature a light, spacious atmosphere. There are constantly new developments in the fields of design and architecture. For example, in 2006, the Esprit Academy, an initiative for the promotion of creative young design talents, held an architecture competition for the design of a new, global look for all Esprit stores.
The Esprit story began
while hitchhiking in California in the mid-60s. Susie Russel was here on the road with her convertible.
She picked up an attractive hitchhiker from the roadside: Doug Tompkins. Susie and Doug later
became a couple and got married. Californian flower child Susie Tompkins had a weakness for unusual styles.
She was particularly taken with the style of the Europeans. Doug Tompkins took care of the financial side of things.
Today, Esprit is a global player with clothing lines, accessories, shoes, and Esprit home with interior design products for various fields of life. Esprit has 40 licence partners, 650 directly managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its
products via more than 14,000 wholesale locations across the globe.
Esprit is available in more than 40 countries. Check out the inspiring Memphis design www.esprit.com.
fig.: Store Cologne in Memphis Design