Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was an English-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She continued her career successfully into the 1960s, remaining a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood cinema.
Born in London to socially prominent American parents, Taylor moved with her family to Los Angeles in 1939. She made her acting debut with a minor role in the Universal Pictures film There's One Born Every Minute (1942), but the studio ended her contract after a year. She was then signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and became a popular teen star after appearing in National Velvet (1944). She transitioned to mature roles in the 1950s, when she starred in the comedy Father of the Bride (1950) and received critical acclaim for her performance in the drama (1951).
Despite being one of MGM's most bankable stars, Taylor wished to end her career in the early 1950s. She resented the studio's control and disliked many of the films to which she was assigned. She began receiving more enjoyable roles in the mid-1950s, beginning with the epic drama Giant (1956), and starred in several critically and commercially successful films in the following years. These included two film adaptations of plays by Tennessee Williams: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959); Taylor won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the latter. Although she disliked her role as a call girl in BUtterfield 8 (1960), her last film for MGM, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
During the production of the film Cleopatra in 1961, Taylor and co-star Richard Burton began an extramarital affair, which caused a scandal. Despite public disapproval, they continued their relationship and were married in 1964. Dubbed "Liz and Dick" by the media, they starred in 11 films together, including The V.I.P.s (1963), The Sandpiper (1965), The Taming of the Shrew (1967), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Taylor received the best reviews of her career for Woolf, winning her second Academy Award and several other awards for her performance. She and Burton divorced in 1974, but reconciled soon after, and remarried in 1975. The second marriage ended in divorce in 1976.
Taylor's acting career began to decline in the late 1960s, although she continued starring in films until the mid-1970s, after which she focused on supporting the career of her sixth husband, United States Senator John Warner (R-Virginia). In the 1980s, she acted in her first substantial stage roles and in several television films and series. She became the second celebrity to launch a perfume brand, after Sophia Loren. Taylor was one of the first celebrities to take part in HIV/AIDS activism. She co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985 and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991. From the early 1990s until her death, she dedicated her time to philanthropy, for which she received several accolades, including the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Throughout her career, Taylor's personal life was the subject of constant media attention. She was married eight times to seven men, converted to Judaism, endured several serious illnesses, and led a jet set lifestyle, including assembling one of the most expensive private collections of jewelry in the world. After many years of ill health, Taylor died from congestive heart failure in 2011, at the age of 79.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London. She received dual British-American citizenship at birth, as her parents, art dealer Francis Lenn Taylor (1897–1968) and retired stage actress Sara Sothern (née Sara Viola Warmbrodt, 1895–1994), were United States citizens. They moved to London in 1929 and opened an art gallery on Bond Street; their first child, a son named Howard, was born the same year.
The family lived in London during Taylor's childhood. Their social circle included artists such as Augustus John and Laura Knight, and politicians such as Colonel Victor Cazalet. Cazalet was Taylor's unofficial godfather, and an important influence in her early life. She was enrolled in Byron House, a Montessori school in Highgate, and was raised according to the teachings of Christian Science, the religion of her mother and Cazalet.
In early 1939, the Taylors decided to return to the United States due to fear of impending war in Europe. In early 1940, Francis Taylor opened a new gallery in Los Angeles, and the Taylor family settled in Beverly Hills, where the two children were enrolled in Hawthorne School.
In California, Taylor's mother was frequently told that her daughter should audition for films. Elizabeth Taylor's eyes in particular drew attention; they were blue, to the extent of appearing violet, and were rimmed by dark double eyelashes caused by a genetic mutation. Elizabeth Taylor auditioned for both Universal Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in early 1941. Both studios offered Taylor contracts, and Sara Taylor chose to accept Universal's offer.
Taylor began her contract in April 1941 and was cast in a small role in There's One Born Every Minute (1942).
In late 1942, she auditioned for a minor role in Lassie Come Home (1943), which required a child actress with an English accent.
Taylor was cast in her first starring role at the age of 12, when she was chosen to play a girl who wants to compete as a jockey in the exclusively male Grand National in National Velvet. MGM had been looking for a suitable actress with a British accent and the ability to ride horses since 1937.
As she was deemed too short, filming was pushed back several months to allow her to grow; she spent the time practicing riding. In developing her into a new star, MGM required her to wear braces to correct her teeth, and had two of her baby teeth pulled out. The studio also wanted to dye her hair and change the shape of her eyebrows, and proposed that she use the screen name "Virginia", but Taylor and her parents refused.
National Velvet became a box-office success upon its release on Christmas 1944.
Taylor later called it "the most exciting film" of her career and stated that her childhood ended when she became a star, as MGM started to control every aspect of her life. She described the studio as a "big extended factory", where she was required to adhere to a strict daily schedule: days were spent attending school and filming at the studio lot, and evenings in dancing and singing classes, and in practising the following day's scenes.
Following the success of National Velvet, MGM gave Taylor a new seven-year contract with a weekly salary of $750, and cast her in a minor role in the third film of the Lassie series, Courage of Lassie (1946). The studio also published a book of Taylor's writings about her pet chipmunk, Nibbles and Me (1946), and had paper dolls and coloring books made after her.
When Taylor turned 15 in 1947, MGM began to cultivate a more mature public image for her by organizing photo shoots and interviews that portrayed her as a "normal" teenager attending parties and going on dates.
Taylor's last adolescent role was as Amy March in Mervyn LeRoy's Little Women (1949). While this version did not match the popularity of the previous 1933 film adaptation of Louisa M. Alcott's novel, it was a box-office success. The same year, Time featured Taylor on its cover, and called her the leader among Hollywood's next generation of stars, "a jewel of great price, a true sapphire".
Taylor made the transition to adult roles when she turned 18 in 1950.
In may 1950, Taylor married hotel-chain heir Conrad Hilton Jr. in a highly publicized ceremony.
The event was organized by MGM, and used as part of the publicity campaign for Taylor's next film, Vincente Minnelli's comedy Father of the Bride (1950), in which she appeared opposite Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett as a bride preparing for her wedding. The film became a box-office success upon its release in June, grossing $6 million worldwide, and was followed by a successful sequel, Father's Little Dividend (1951), ten months later.
Taylor's next film release, George Stevens' A Place in the Sun (1951), marked a departure from her earlier films. According to Taylor, it was the first film in which she had been asked to act, instead of simply being herself, and it brought her critical acclaim for the first time since National Velvet. Based on Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy (1925), it featured Taylor as a spoiled socialite who comes between a poor factory worker (Montgomery Clift) and his pregnant girlfriend (Shelley Winters). Stevens cast Taylor as she was "the only one ... who could create this illusion" of being "not so much a real girl as the girl on the candy-box cover, the beautiful girl in the yellow Cadillac convertible that every American boy sometime or other thinks he can marry".
A Place in the Sun was a critical and commercial success, grossing $3 million.
Taylor next starred in the romantic comedy Love Is Better Than Ever (1952). According to Alexander Walker, MGM cast her in the "B-picture" as a reprimand for divorcing Hilton in January 1951 after only nine months of marriage, which had caused a public scandal that reflected negatively on her. After completing Love Is Better Than Ever, Taylor was sent to Britain to take part in the historical epic Ivanhoe (1952), which was one of the most expensive projects in the studio's history and became one of MGM's biggest commercial successes, earning $11 million in worldwide rentals.
Despite her grievances with the studio, Taylor signed a new seven-year contract with MGM in the summer of 1952. Although she wanted more interesting roles, the decisive factor in continuing with the studio was her financial need; she had recently married British actor Michael Wilding, and was pregnant with her first child. In addition to granting her a weekly salary of $4,700, MGM agreed to give the couple a loan for a house, and signed her husband for a three-year contract.Due to her financial dependency, the studio now had even more control over her than previously.
In the fall of 1954, Taylor starred in two films. The first was Beau Brummell, a Regency era period film. Taylor disliked historical films in general, as their elaborate costumes and make-up required her to wake up earlier than usual to prepare. She later said that she gave one of the worst performances of her career in Beau Brummell. The second film was Richard Brooks' The Last Time I Saw Paris, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story. Taylor liked the film, and later stated that it "convinced me I wanted to be an actress instead of yawning my way through parts". While The Last Time I Saw Paris was not as profitable as many other MGM films, it garnered positive reviews. Taylor became pregnant again during the production, and had to agree to add another year to her contract to make up for the period spent on maternity leave.
After lobbying director George Stevens, she won the female lead role in Giant (1956), an epic drama about a ranching dynasty, which co-starred Rock Hudson and James Dean. Its filming was a difficult experience for Taylor, as she clashed with Stevens, and was often ill, resulting in delays. To further complicate the production, Dean died in a car accident only days after completing filming; grieving Taylor still had to film reaction shots to their joint scenes. When Giant was released a year later, it became a box-office success.
MGM re-united Taylor with Montgomery Clift in Raintree County (1957), a Civil War drama which it hoped would replicate the success of Gone with the Wind (1939). Taylor was nominated for the first time for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
Taylor considered her next performance as Maggie the Cat in the screen adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) a career "high point." But it coincided with one of the most difficult periods in her personal life.
After completing Raintree Country, she had divorced Wilding and married producer Mike Todd. She had completed only two weeks of filming in March 1958, when Todd was killed in a plane crash. Although she was devastated, pressure from the studio and the knowledge that Todd had large debts led Taylor to return to work only three weeks later. She later said that "in a way ... [she] became Maggie", and that acting "was the only time I could function" in the weeks after Todd's death.
During the production, Taylor's personal life drew more attention when she began an affair with singer Eddie Fisher, whose marriage to actress Debbie Reynolds had been idealized by the media as the union of "America's sweethearts". The affair – and Fisher's subsequent divorce – changed Taylor's public image from a grieving widow to a "homewrecker".
MGM used the scandal to its advantage by featuring an image of Taylor posing on a bed in a slip in the film's promotional posters. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof grossed $10 million in American cinemas alone, and made Taylor the year's second-most profitable star. And she was nominated for an Academy Award.
Taylor's next film, Joseph L. Mankiewicz' Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), was another Tennessee Williams adaptation, and co-starred Montgomery Clift and Katharine Hepburn. The independent production earned Taylor $500,000 for playing the role of a severely traumatized patient in a mental institution. Although the film was a drama about mental illness, childhood traumas, and homosexuality, it was again promoted with Taylor's sex appeal; both its trailer and poster featured her in a white swimsuit. The strategy worked, as the film was a financial success. Taylor received her third Academy Award nomination and her first Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance.
Taylor’s last film with MGM BUtterfield 8 (1960), a drama about a high-class sex worker, won her Academy Award.
After completing her MGM contract, Taylor starred in 20th Century-Fox's Cleopatra (1963). This historical epic made her more famous than ever before. She became the first actress to be paid $1 million for a role; Fox also granted her 10% of the film's profits, as well as shooting the film in Todd-AO, a widescreen format for which she had inherited the rights from Mike Todd.
Life proclaiming it the "Most Talked About Movie Ever Made", mostly due to her affair with Richard Burton, her co star.
Filming began in England in 1960, but had to be halted several times because of bad weather and Taylor's ill health. It was finally completed in July 1962in Rome. The film's final cost was $62 million, making it the most expensive film made up to that point.
Cleopatra became the biggest box-office success of 1963 in the United States; the film grossed $15.7 million at the box office. Regardless, it took several years for the film to earn back its production costs, which drove Fox near to bankruptcy. The studio publicly blamed Taylor for the production's troubles and unsuccessfully sued Burton and Taylor for allegedly damaging the film's commercial prospects with their behavior. In retrospect, Taylor called Cleopatra a "low point" in her career.
Hollywood film producers were eager to profit from the scandal surrounding Taylor and Burton, and they next starred together in Anthony Asquith's The V.I.P.s (1963), which mirrored the headlines about them. Taylor played a famous model attempting to leave her husband for a lover, and Burton her estranged millionaire husband. Released soon after Cleopatra, it became a box-office success.
After completing The V.I.P.s, Taylor took a two-year hiatus from films, during which Burton and she divorced their spouses and married each other.
The supercouple continued starring together in films in the mid-1960s, earning a combined $88 million over the next decade; Burton once stated, "They say we generate more business activity than one of the smaller African nations."
Their film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), an adaptation of a play of the same name by Edward Albee, featured the most critically acclaimed performance of Taylor's career. The film also became one of the biggest commercial successes of the year. Taylor received her second Academy Award, and BAFTA, National Board of Review, and New York City Film Critics Circle awards for her performance.
Taylor's career was in decline by the late 1960s. She had gained weight, was nearing middle age, and did not fit in with New Hollywood stars such as Jane Fonda and Julie Christie.
After several years of nearly constant media attention, the public was tiring of Burton and her, and criticized their jet set lifestyle.
Taylor and Burton's last film together was the Harlech Television film Divorce His, Divorce Hers (1973), fittingly named as they divorced the following year.
Taylor took fewer roles after the mid-1970s, and focused on supporting the career of her sixth husband, Republican politician John Warner, a US senator.
After a period of semi-retirement from films, Taylor ook on her first substantial stage role, playing Regina Giddens in a Broadway production of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes.
The production premiered in May 1981, and had a sold-out six-month run despite mixed reviews.
Encouraged by the success of The Little Foxes, Taylor and producer Zev Buffman founded the Elizabeth Taylor Repertory Company. Its first and only production was a revival of Noël Coward's comedy Private Lives, starring Taylor and Burton.
It premiered in Boston in early 1983, and although commercially successful, received generally negative reviews, with critics noting that both stars were in noticeably poor health – Taylor admitted herself to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center after the play's run ended, and Burton died the following year.
From the mid-1980s, Taylor acted mostly in television productions.
In the 1990s, Taylor focused her time on HIV/AIDS activism. Her last theatrically released film was in the critically panned, but commercially successful, The Flintstones (1994).
Taylor received American and British honors for her career: the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1993, the Screen Actors Guild honorary award in 1997, and a BAFTA Fellowship in 1999. In 2000, she was appointed a Dame Commander in the chivalric Order of the British Empire in the millennium New Year Honours List by Queen Elizabeth II.
Taylor was one of the first celebrities to participate in HIV/AIDS activism and helped to raise more than $270 million for the cause.
Taylor began her philanthropic efforts in 1984 by helping to organize and by hosting the first AIDS fundraiser to benefit the AIDS Project Los Angeles. In August 1985, she and Dr. Michael Gottlieb founded the National AIDS Research Foundation after her friend and former co-star Rock Hudson announced that he was dying of the disease.
In 1991, Taylor founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) to raise awareness and to provide support services for people with HIV/AIDS, paying for its overhead costs herself.
Taylor also founded the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center to offer free HIV/AIDS testing and care at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D. C., and the Elizabeth Taylor Endowment Fund for the UCLA Clinical AIDS Research and Education Center in Los Angeles.
Taylor was honored with several awards for her philanthropic work. She was made a Knight of the French Legion of Honour in 1987, and received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993, the Screen Actors' Guild Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanitarian service in 1997, the GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2000, and the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001.
Taylor was the first celebrity to create her own collection of fragrances. In collaboration with Elizabeth Arden, Inc., she began by launching two best-selling perfumes – Passion in 1987, and White Diamonds in 1991. Taylor personally supervised the creation and production of each of the 11 fragrances marketed in her name.
In 2005, Taylor also founded a jewelry company, House of Taylor, in collaboration with Kathy Ireland and Jack and Monty Abramov.
According to biographers Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, she earned more money through the fragrance collection than during her entire acting career, and upon her death, the British newspaper The Guardian estimated that the majority of her estimated $600 million-$1 billion estate consisted of revenue from fragrances.
Throughout her adult years, Taylor's personal life, especially her eight marriages (two to the same man), drew a large amount of media attention and public disapproval.
Film tycoon Howard Hughes also wanted to marry her, and offered to pay her parents a six-figure sum of money if she were to become his wife. Taylor declined the offer.
Taylor was 18 when she married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr., heir to the Hilton Hotels chain, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on May 6, 1950. MGM organized the large and expensive wedding, which became a major media event. In the weeks after their wedding, Taylor realized that she had made a mistake; not only did she and Hilton have few interests in common, but he was also abusive and a heavy drinker. She was granted a divorce in January 1951, eight months after their wedding.
Taylor married her second husband, British actor Michael Wilding – a man 20 years her senior – in a low-key ceremony at Caxton Hall in London on February 21, 1952. They had two sons: Michael Howard (b. January 6, 1953) and Christopher Edward (b. February 27, 1955). As Taylor grew older and more confident in herself, she began to drift apart from Wilding, whose failing career was also a source of marital strife. Taylor and Wilding announced their separation on July 18, 1956, and were divorced in January 1957.
Taylor married her third husband, theater and film producer Mike Todd, in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, on February 2, 1957. They had one daughter, Elizabeth "Liza" Frances (b. August 6, 1957). Todd, known for publicity stunts, encouraged the media attention to their marriage. His death in a plane crash on March 22, 1958, left Taylor devastated. She was comforted by Todd's and her friend, singer Eddie Fisher, with whom she soon began an affair. As Fisher was still married to actress Debbie Reynolds, the affair resulted in a public scandal, with Taylor being branded a "homewrecker". Taylor and Fisher were married at the Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas on May 12, 1959; she later stated that she married him only due to her grief.
While filming Cleopatra in Italy in 1962, Taylor began an affair with her co-star, Welsh actor Richard Burton, although Burton was also married. Rumors about the affair began to circulate in the press. The scandal caused Taylor and Burton to be condemned for "erotic vagrancy" by the Vatican, with calls also in the US Congress to bar them from re-entering the country. Taylor was granted a divorce from Fisher on March 5, 1964 in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, and married Burton 10 days later in a private ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Burton subsequently adopted Liza Todd and Maria Burton (b. August 1, 1961), a German orphan whose adoption process Taylor had begun while married to Fisher.
Dubbed "Liz and Dick" by the media, Taylor and Burton starred together in 11 films, and led a jet-set lifestyle, spending millions on "furs, diamonds, paintings, designer clothes, travel, food, liquor, a yacht, and a jet".
They divorced for the first time in June 1974, but reconciled, and remarried in Kasane, Botswana, on October 10, 1975. The second marriage lasted less than a year, ending in divorce in July 1976. Taylor and Burton's relationship was often referred to as the "marriage of the century" by the media, and she later stated, "After Richard, the men in my life were just there to hold the coat, to open the door. All the men after Richard were really just company."
Soon after her final divorce from Burton, Taylor met her sixth husband, John Warner, a Republican politician from Virginia. They were married on December 4, 1976, after which Taylor concentrated on working for his electoral campaign. Once Warner had been elected to the Senate, she started to find her life as a politician's wife in Washington, D.C., boring and lonely, becoming depressed, overweight, and increasingly addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. Taylor and Warner separated in December 1981, and divorced a year later in November 1982.
She met her seventh – and last – husband, construction worker Larry Fortensky, at the Betty Ford Center in 1988. They were married at the Neverland Ranch of her long-time friend Michael Jackson on October 6, 1991. The wedding was again subject to intense media attention, with one photographer parachuting to the ranch and Taylor selling the wedding pictures to People for $1 million, which she used to start her AIDS foundation.
Taylor and Fortensky divorced in October 1996, but remained in contact for life. She attributed the split to her painful hip operations and his obsessive-compulsive disorder. In the winter of 1999, Fortensky underwent brain surgery after falling off a balcony and was comatose for six weeks; Taylor immediately notified the hospital she would personally guarantee his medical expenses. At the end of 2010, she wrote him a letter that read: "Larry darling, you will always be a big part of my heart! I'll love you for ever." Taylor's last phone call with Fortensky was on February 7, 2011, one day before she checked into the hospital for what turned out to be her final stay. He told her she would outlive him. Although they had been divorced for almost 15 years, Taylor left Fortensky $825,000 in her will.
Taylor struggled with health problems for most of her life. She was born with scoliosis and broke her back while filming National Velvet in 1944. The fracture went undetected for several years, although it caused her chronic back problems. In 1956, she underwent an operation in which some of her spinal discs were removed and replaced with donated bone. Taylor was also prone to other illnesses and injuries, which often necessitated surgery; in 1961, while filming Cleopatra she survived a near-fatal bout of pneumonia that required a tracheotomy.
In addition, she was addicted to alcohol and prescription pain killers and tranquilizers. She was treated at the Betty Ford Center for seven weeks from December 1983 to January 1984, becoming the first celebrity to openly admit herself to the clinic. Taylor also struggled with her weight – she became overweight in the 1970s, especially after her marriage to Senator John Warner, and published a diet book about her experiences, Elizabeth Takes Off (1988).
Taylor was a heavy smoker until she experienced a severe bout of pneumonia in 1990.
Taylor's health increasingly declined during the last two decades of her life, and she rarely attended public events after about 1996. She underwent hip replacement surgery in the mid-1990s, underwent surgery for a benign brain tumor in 1997, and was successfully treated for skin cancer in 2002. She used a wheelchair due to her back problems, and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2004.
Six weeks after being hospitalized, she died of the illness at age 79 on March 23, 2011, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Her funeral took place the following day at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. The service was a private Jewish ceremony presided over by Rabbi Jerome Cutler. At Taylor's request, the ceremony began 15 minutes behind schedule, as, according to her representative, "She even wanted to be late for her own funeral". She was entombed in the cemetery's Great Mausoleum.
Taylor was one of the last stars of classical Hollywood cinema, and one of the first modern celebrities. During the era of the studio system, she exemplified the classic film star. She was portrayed as different from "ordinary" people, and her public image was carefully crafted and controlled by MGM. When the era of classical Hollywood ended in the 1960s, and paparazzi photography became a normal feature of media culture, Taylor came to define a new type of celebrity, whose real private life was the focus of public interest.
Regardless of the acting awards she won during her career, Taylor's film performances were often overlooked by contemporary critics. Five films in which she starred – Lassie Come Home, National Velvet, A Place in the Sun, Giant, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – have been preserved in the National Film Registry, and the American Film Institute has named her the seventh greatest female screen legend of classical Hollywood cinema.
Taylor is considered a fashion icon both for her film costumes and personal style. At MGM, her costumes were mostly designed by Helen Rose and Edith Head, and in the 1960s by Irene Sharaff. Her most famous costumes include a white ball gown in A Place in the Sun (1951), a Grecian dress in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), a green A-line dress in Suddenly Last Summer (1959), and a slip and a fur coat in BUtterfield 8 (1960). Her make-up look in Cleopatra (1963) started a trend for "cat-eye" make-up done with black eyeliner.
Taylor collected jewelry through her life, and owned the 33.19-carat (6.638 g) Krupp Diamond, the 69.42-carat (13.884 g) Taylor-Burton Diamond, and the 50-carat (10 g) La Peregrina Pearl, all three of which were gifts from husband Richard Burton. She also published a book about her collection, My Love Affair with Jewelry, in 2002.
Taylor helped to popularize the work of fashion designers Valentino Garavani and Halston. She received a Lifetime of Glamour Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1997. After her death, her jewelry and fashion collections were auctioned by Christie's to benefit her AIDS foundation, ETAF. The jewelry sold for a record-breaking sum of $156.8 million, and the clothes and accessories for a further $5.5 million.
Edith Wharton (born Edith Newbold Jones; January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937) was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer. Wharton drew upon her insider's knowledge of the upper class New York "aristocracy" to realistically portray the lives and morals of the Gilded Age. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Literature, for her novel The Age of Innocence. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1996. Among her other well known works are the The House of Mirth and the novella Ethan Frome.
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862 to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander at their brownstone at 14 West Twenty-third Street in New York City. To her friends and family she was known as "Pussy Jones". She had two older brothers, both more than a decade older than her She was baptized April 20, 1862, Easter Sunday, at Grace Church.
Wharton's paternal family, the Joneses, were a very wealthy and socially prominent family having made their money in real estate. Fort Stevens in New York was named for Wharton's maternal great-grandfather, Ebenezer Stevens, a Revolutionary War hero and General.
Wharton was born during the Civil War; however, in describing her family life Wharton does not mention the war except that their travels to Europe after the war were due to the depreciation of American currency. From 1866 to 1872, the Jones family visited France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. During her travels, the young Edith became fluent in French, German, and Italian. At the age of nine, she suffered from typhoid fever, which nearly killed her, while the family was at a spa in the Black Forest. After the family returned to the United States in 1872, they spent their winters in New York City and their summers in Newport, Rhode Island.
While in Europe, she was educated by tutors and governesses. She rejected the standards of fashion and etiquette that were expected of young girls at the time, which were intended to allow women to marry well and to be put on display at balls and parties. She considered these fashions superficial and oppressive. Edith wanted more education than she received, so she read from her father's library and from the libraries of her father's friends. Her mother forbade her to read novels until she was married, and Edith obeyed this command.
She was allowed to read Louisa May Alcott but Wharton preferred Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Charles Kingsley's Water Babies.And she read the classics, philosophy, history, and poetry in her father's library including Daniel Defoe, John Milton, Thomas Carlyle, Alphonse de Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Jean Racine, Thomas Moore, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, and Washington Irving. She later developed a passion for Walt Whitman.
Wharton wrote and told stories from an early age. When her family moved to Europe and she was just four or five she started what she called "making up." She invented stories for her family and walked with an open book, turning the pages as if reading while improvising a story. Wharton began writing poetry and fiction as a young girl, and attempted to write her first novel at age eleven. Her mother's criticism quashed her ambition and she turned to poetry.
While she constantly sought her mother's approval and love, it was rare that she received either. From the start, the relationship with her mother was a troubled one. Before she was 15, she wrote Fast and Loose (1877), a 30,000 word novella.
At age 15, her first published work appeared, a translation of a German poem "Was die Steine Erzählen" ("What the Stones Tell") by Heinrich Karl Brugsch, for which she was paid $50. Her family did not want her name to appear in print since writing was not considered a proper occupation for a society woman of her time. Consequently, the poem was published under the name of a friend's father, E. A. Washburn, a cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson who supported women's education.
In 1878 her father arranged for a collection of two dozen original poems and five translations, Verses, to be privately published.
Wharton officially came out as a debutante to society in 1879. In 1880 she had five poems published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly, an important literary magazine. Despite these early successes, she was not encouraged by her family or her social circle, and though she continued to write, she did not publish anything more until her poem "The Last Giustiniani" was published in Scribner's Magazine in October 1889.
Between 1880 and 1890 Wharton put her writing aside to participate in the social rituals of the New York upper classes. Wharton keenly observed the social changes happening around her which appeared later in her writing. Wharton began a courtship with Henry Leyden Stevens, the son of a wealthy businessman. Henry's father was Paran Stevens, a hotelier and real estate investor from rural New Hampshire but Wharton's family did not approve of Stevens.
In the middle of Wharton's debutante season, the Jones family returned to Europe in 1881 for Wharton's father's health. Wharton's father, George Frederic Jones, died in Cannes in 1882 of a stroke. Wharton and her mother returned to the United States and Wharton continued her courtship with Stevens, announcing their engagement in August 1882. The month the two were to marry, the engagement abruptly ended.
Wharton's mother, Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander, moved back to Paris in 1883 and lived there until her death in 1901.
On April 29, 1885, at age 23, Wharton married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton, who was 12 years her senior, at the Trinity Chapel Complex. From a well-established Boston family, he was a sportsman and a gentleman of the same social class and shared her love of travel.
After her marriage, she began to build upon three of her interests—American houses, writing, and Italy.
The Whartons set up house at Pencraig Cottage in Newport, Rhode Island. They then bought and moved to Land's End on the other side of Newport in 1893, from Robert Livingston Beeckman, a former U.S. Open Tennis Championship runner-up who became governor of Rhode Island. At the time, Wharton described the main house as "incurably ugly." Wharton agreed to pay $80,000 for the property, and spent thousands more to alter the home's facade, decorate the interior, and landscape the grounds, with the help of designer Ogden Codman. The Whartons purchased their New York home, 884 Park Avenue, in 1897.
It was not until Wharton was 29 in 1891 that her first short story was published. "Mrs. Manstey's View" had very little success, and it took her more than a year to publish another story, "The Fullness of Life" which did not see publication until 1916. After several more attempts of short stories, she lost confidence in herself and started "travel writing" in 1894.
Wharton loved travel. She eventually crossed the Atlantic 60 times. In Europe, her primary destinations were Italy, France, and England. She also went to Morocco in North Africa. She wrote many books about her travels, including Italian Backgrounds and A Motor-Flight through France.
Her husband Edward Wharton shared her love of travel and for many years they spent at least four months of each year abroad, mainly in Italy. In 1888, the Whartons and their friend James Van Alen took a cruise through the Aegean islands. Wharton was 26. The trip cost the Whartons $10,000 and lasted four months. She kept a travel journal during this trip that was thought to be lost but was later published as The Cruise of the Vanadis, now considered her earliest known travel writing.
From the late 1880s until 1902, Teddy Wharton suffered from acute depression, and the couple ceased their extensive travel. At that time his depression manifested as a more serious disorder, after which they lived almost exclusively at their estate The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts.
In 1901, Wharton wrote a two-act play called Man of Genius. This play was about an English man who was having an affair with his secretary. The play was rehearsed but was never produced. Another 1901 play, The Shadow of a Doubt, which also came close to being staged but fell through.
In 1902, Wharton designed The Mount, her estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which survives today as an example of her design principles. Edith Wharton wrote several of her novels there, including The House of Mirth (1905), the first of many chronicles of life in old New York. At The Mount, she entertained the cream of American literary society, including her close friend, novelist Henry James, who described the estate as "a delicate French chateau mirrored in a Massachusetts pond". Although she spent many months traveling in Europe nearly every year with her friend Egerton Winthrop, The Mount was her primary residence until 1911. When living there and while traveling abroad, Wharton was usually driven to appointments by her longtime chauffeur and friend Charles Cook.
In 1908 her husband's mental state was determined to be incurable. In the same year, she began an affair with Morton Fullerton, a journalist for The Times, in whom she found an intellectual partner. When her marriage deteriorated, she decided to move permanently to France, living first at 53 Rue de Varenne, Paris, in an apartment that belonged to George Washington Vanderbilt II.
She divorced Edward Wharton in 1913 after 28 years of marriage.
Wharton was preparing to vacation for the summer when World War I broke out. Though many fled Paris, she moved back to her Paris apartment on the Rue de Varenne and for four years was a tireless and ardent supporter of the French war effort.
One of the first causes she undertook in August 1914 was the opening of a workroom for unemployed French women; here they were fed and paid one franc a day. What began with 30 women soon doubled to 60, and their sewing business began to thrive. When the Germans invaded Belgium in the fall of 1914 and Paris was flooded with Belgian refugees, she helped to set up the American Hostels for Refugees, which managed to get them shelter, meals, and clothes, and eventually created an employment agency to help them find work. She collected more than $100,000 on their behalf. In early 1915 she organized the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee, which gave shelter to nearly 900 Belgian refugees who had fled when their homes were bombed by the Germans.
Aided by her influential connections in the French government, she and her long-time friend Walter Berry (then president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris), were among the few foreigners in France allowed to travel to the front lines during World War I. She and Berry made five journeys between February and August 1915, which Wharton described in a series of articles that were first published in Scribner's Magazine and later as Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort, which became an American bestseller. Travelling by car, Wharton and Berry drove through the war zone, viewing one decimated French village after another. She visited the trenches, and was within earshot of artillery fire. She wrote, "We woke to a noise of guns closer and more incessant ... and when we went out into the streets it seemed as if, overnight, a new army had sprung out of the ground".
Throughout the war she worked tirelessly in charitable efforts for refugees, the injured, the unemployed, and the displaced, as well as the artists, organizing concerts to provide work for musicians, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the war effort, and opening tuberculosis hospitals. In 1915 Wharton edited The Book of the Homeless, which included essays, art, poetry, and musical scores by many major contemporary European and American artists, including Henry James, Joseph Conrad, William Dean Howells, Anna de Noailles, Jean Cocteau, and Walter Gay, among others. She handled all of the business arrangements, lined up contributors, and translated the French entries into English. Theodore Roosevelt wrote a two-page introduction in which he praised Wharton's effort and urged Americans to support the war.
She was a "heroic worker on behalf of her adopted country". On April 18, 1916, the President of France appointed her Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the country's highest award, in recognition of her dedication to the war effort.
She also kept up her own work during the war, continuing to write novels, short stories, and poems, as well as reporting for The New York Times and keeping up her enormous correspondence. Wharton urged Americans to support the war effort and encouraged America to enter the war. She wrote the popular romantic novel Summer in 1916, the war novella, The Marne, in 1918, and A Son at the Front in 1919, (though it was not published until 1923). When the war ended, she decided to leave Paris after four years of intense effort in favor of the peace and quiet of the countryside. Wharton settled ten miles north of Paris in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, buying an 18th-century house on seven acres of land which she called Pavillon Colombe. She lived there in summer and autumn for the rest of her life. She spent winters and springs on the French Riviera at Sainte Claire du Vieux Chateau in Hyère as well as Provence, where she finished The Age of Innocence in 1920. She returned to the United States only once after the war to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 1923.
The Age of Innocence (1920) won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature, making Wharton the first woman to win the award. She was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928, and 1930.
Wharton was friend and confidante to many gifted intellectuals of her time: Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide were all her guests at one time or another. Theodore Roosevelt, Bernard Berenson, and Kenneth Clark were valued friends as well. Particularly notable was her meeting with F. Scott Fitzgerald, described by the editors of her letters as "one of the better known failed encounters in the American literary annals". She spoke fluent French, Italian, and German, and many of her books were published in both French and English.
In 1934 Wharton's autobiography A Backward Glance was published. In her memoir, Wharton describes her mother as indolent, spendthrift, censorious, disapproving, superficial, icy, dry and ironic.
On June 1, 1937, Wharton was at the French country home of Ogden Codman, where she was at work on a revised edition of The Decoration of Houses, when she suffered a heart attack and collapsed.
Edith Wharton later died of a stroke on August 11, 1937 at Le Pavillon Colombe, her 18th-century house on Rue de Montmorency in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt. She died at 5:30 p.m., but her death was not known in Paris. Wharton was buried in the American Protestant section of the Cimetière des Gonards in Versailles, "with all the honors owed a war hero and a chevalier of the Legion of Honor...a group of some one hundred friends sang a verse of the hymn 'O Paradise'..."
Despite not publishing her first novel until she was forty, Edith Wharton became an extraordinarily productive writer. In addition to her 15 novels, seven novellas, and eighty-five short stories, she published poetry, books on design, travel, literary and cultural criticism, and a memoir.
She was also a garden designer, an interior designer, and a taste-maker of her time. She wrote several design books, including her first major published work, The Decoration of Houses (1897), co-authored by Ogden Codman. Another of her "home and garden" books is the generously illustrated Italian Villas and Their Gardens of 1904.
A key recurring theme in Wharton's writing is the relationship between the house as a physical space and its relationship to its inhabitant's characteristics and emotions.
Many of Wharton's novels are characterized by subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in upper-class, late-19th-century society, Wharton became one of its most astute critics, in such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. Versions of her mother, Lucretia Jones, often appeared in Wharton's fiction.
Don Emilio Pucci, Marchese di Barsento (20 November 1914 – 29 November 1992) was an Italian fashion designer and politician. He and his eponymous company are synonymous with geometric prints in a kaleidoscope of colors.
Il marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento (Napoli, 20 novembre 1914 – Firenze, 29 novembre 1992) è stato un aviatore, stilista e politico italiano pluridecorato con tre Medaglie d'argento al valor militare, fu un asso dell'aviazione nella specialità aerosiluranti.
Emilio Pucci was born in Naples in 1914 to one of Florence's oldest noble families, and he lived and worked in the Pucci Palace in Florence for much of his life. He was a keen sportsman who swam, skied, fenced, played tennis and raced cars.
At the age of 17, Pucci traveled to Lake Placid, New York, as part of the Italian team at the 1932 Winter Olympics, but he did not compete. After two years at the University of Milan, he studied agriculture at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where he became a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society. In 1935, he was given a full scholarship to Reed College in Oregon in return for developing a college ski team. He earned an MA in social science from Reed College in 1937, and was awarded his doctorate (laurea) in political science from the University of Florence the same year.
In 1938, Pucci joined the Italian Air Force, and served as an SM.79 torpedo bomber pilot during World War II, rising to the rank of captain and receiving decorations for valour. During the war he became a confidant of Benito Mussolini's eldest daughter, Edda Mussolini and played a key role in a plan to save the life of her husband, Mussolini's former Foreign Minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano and helped Edda escape to Switzerland.
He was arrested while attempting to flee to Switzerland himself, and was transported to San Vittore prison in Milan, where he was tortured by the Gestapo in a futile attempt to extract information. Pucci then managed to escape and reach Switzerland, where he remained until the end of the war.
The first clothes designed by Emilio Pucci were for the Reed College skiing team. His designs came to wider attention in 1947, when he was on leave in Zermatt, Switzerland as a skiwear that he had designed for a female friend was photographed by Toni Frissell, a photographer working for Harper's Bazaar. Frissell's editor asked Pucci to design skiwear for a story on European Winter Fashion, which ran in the winter 1948 issue of the Bazaar.
Pucci was the first person to design a one-piece ski suit. Although there had been some experiments with stretch fabrics in Europe before the war, Pucci's sleek designs caused a sensation, and he received several offers from American manufacturers to produce them. Instead, he left the Air Force and set up an haute couture house in the fashionable resort of Canzone del Mare on the Isle of Capri.
Initially, he used his knowledge of stretch fabrics to produce a swimwear line in 1949, but he soon moved onto other items such as brightly coloured, boldly patterned silk scarves. Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus encouraged him to use the designs in blouses and then a popular line of wrinkle-free printed silk dresses.
Pucci presented his collection in the first fashion shows in Italy in 1950 and then added a boutique in Rome as business thrived, helped by Capri's role as a destination for the international jet set. By the early 1950s, Pucci was achieving international recognition, receiving the Neiman-Marcus Award in Dallas and the Burdine's Sunshine Award in Miami.
By the 1960s Pucci was further thrust into greater status when Marilyn Monroe became a fan. She was photographed by George Barris in a number of Pucci's items in what would be some of her final photographs, and she would be buried in one of Pucci dresses she owned.
As the decade progressed his designs were worn by everyone from Sophia Loren to Jackie Kennedy. And latter day pop icons such as Madonna in the early 1990s.
In fashion history, especially during the period of the 1950s and 1960s, Pucci was a perfect transition example between luxurious couture and ready-to-wear in Europe and the North America.
In 1959, Pucci decided to create a lingerie line. His atelier in Rome advised him to develop the line abroad, avoiding the difficulties of a decade earlier in matching available fabrics to the patterns of his first swimwear line. As a result, Pucci came to Chicago giving the lingerie contract to Formfit-Rogers mills. The venture proved to be successful, and Pucci was made vice president in charge of design and merchandising for the company a year later.
In February 1959, he married Cristina Nannini from Rome about whom he later remarked, "I married a Botticelli". They had two children, Alessandro and Laudomia.
In 1965, New York ad agency Jack Tinker and Associates was hired by Braniff International Airways to update their image, which in turn hired Alexander Girard to remodel the terminals, and Emilio Pucci to design new clothes for the hostesses. As the ads put it, it was "The End of the Plain Plane".
Pucci would end up designing six complete collections for Braniff hostesses, pilots and ground crew between 1965 and 1974.
A mark of his impact was that by 1968 Barbie had versions of all of his first four uniforms. These avant-garde creations were designed as individual components to be added or removed as weather dictated. The uniforms included turtlenecks, T-shirts, crop jackets, and culottes. Among the more unusual innovations was a "bubble helmet" – a clear plastic hood worn by flight attendants between terminal building and aircraft to protect their hairdos from rain and the blast of jet engines. There were two designs of the "bubble helmet" that was dubbed RainDome by Braniff and Bola and Space Helmet by Emilio Pucci. The first edition, called a Bola, was a zippered version that ran down the center of the helmet and the second was a snap together version in place of the zipper called Space Helmet. Pucci incorporated Girard's "BI" logo into some of his prints.
Pucci's influence extended to the Moon. He suggested the three bird motif for the design of the Apollo 15 mission patch, although the crew replaced his blues and greens with a more patriotic red, white, and blue, according to Apollo astronaut and retired U.S.
In addition to his work in fashion, Pucci contested the Florence–Pistoia district for the Italian Liberal Party in the Italian election of April 1963. He was elected in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in August of that year but lost it in the 1972 election.
Emilio Pucci died in Florence on 29 November 1992. His son Alessandro died in a car crash in 1998, six years after his father's death.
After Emilio Pucci's death in 1992, his daughter, Laudomia Pucci, continued to design under the Pucci name. The French LVMH luxury goods empire acquired 67% of Pucci in 2000. Laudomia became Image Director, while LVMH brought in major designers such as Christian Lacroix (creative director 2002-05), and in October 2005, Matthew Williamson, and Peter Dundas from 2009. Laudomia Pucci has created a talent centre in the family estate in Granaiolo and every year she invites students from Polimoda (Florence), ECAL (Lausanne) and Central Saint Martins (London) to see the Emilio Pucci archives and come up with new ideas.
Emilio Pucci clothes and accessories are sold through Emilio Pucci and Rossignol boutiques worldwide, and in high-end department stores designed by Lena Pessoa . The items mostly feature the designer's original brightly coloured, often swirly, prints or new designs in his original distinct style. The fashion house produces ready-to-wear clothes and accessories for women, in addition to a small range of men's accessories. In the past, the house has produced a more comprehensive range of men's wear, including a line in partnership with Ermenegildo Zegna, which included men's jackets lined with Pucci printed fabric, especially for American department store Saks Fifth Avenue.
Nacque a Napoli il 20 novembre 1914, erede della nobile famiglia fiorentina dei Pucci. In gioventù si dedicò allo sci e venne selezionato nel 1934, dalla squadra nazionale olimpica italiana di sci, partecipando alle Olimpiadi invernali del 1936.
Vinse una borsa di studio per allenarsi nello sci al Reed College nell'Oregon, dove ebbe modo di realizzare i suoi primi abiti, da appassionato di pittura qual era, disegnando l'uniforme della squadra di sci della scuola, da dove nel 1937 concluse il suo master in scienze sociali. Invece di rientrare in Italia compì il giro del mondo.
Si appassionò al mondo dell'aviazione arruolandosi nella Regia Aeronautica nel 1938. Nel luglio 1939 divenne ufficiale. Durante la seconda guerra mondiale, per le sue imprese venne insignito di una Croce di guerra al valor militare e delle tre prime Medaglie d'argento al valor militare.
L'armistizio dell'8 settembre 1943 lo colse a Venezia, partì da Venezia raggiungendo Firenze, dove fu raggiunto da Edda Ciano Mussolini, con la quale intratteneva rapporti di amicizia sin dal 1934. Fu informato che suo marito era in stato di arresto a Verona, e che nessuno dei suoi amici o conoscenti in Italia aveva voluto o potuto ospitarla e aiutarla. Inoltre gli rivelò di essere in possesso dei diari del marito che pensava fossero di capitale importanza per l'Italia e per gli alleati. Nel gennaio 1944, accompagnò in Svizzera Edda con i figli ai quali si era ricongiunta.
All'alba del 10 gennaio 1944 viene arrestato da agenti della Gestapo appena fuori Lecco e portato a Milano, nel carcere di San Vittore.Per più di una settimana fu sottoposto, invano, a interrogatori e torture per costringerlo a rivelare dove fossero finiti i diari e Edda Ciano. I tedeschi poi lo trasportarono in Svizzera, dove passò alcuni mesi ricoverato presso un ospedale di Lugano. Una volta dimesso si trasferì a Zermatt, e per guadagnarsi da vivere si mise a fare il maestro di sci. Al termine del conflitto chiuse per sempre la sua attività di pilota e ufficiale dell'Aeronautica Militare.
All'inizio del 1947 intraprese l'attività di istruttore di sci al Sestriere, ma tornò a Firenze in cerca di migliore fortuna, interessandosi alla moda. La sua attività di disegnatore di moda decollò per caso: nel 1947, nel numero di dicembre di Harper's Bazaar, un'importante rivista di moda statunitense, viene pubblicata la fotografia di Toni Frissel nella quale appare un "dashing gentleman" in un moderno completo da sci. Quando fu pubblicata sul magazine illustrato, nell'ambito di un articolo sulla moda invernale in Europa, fu un successo immediato.
L'episodio lo incoraggiò a creare e vendere vestiti da donna, aprendo la sua prima boutique a Capri nel 1950. Subito la sua produzione si contraddistinse per l'uso di colori brillanti e motivi vistosi e marcati, che tanto influenzarono la moda di quei decenni.
Nel 1947, momento in cui prevale l'"Haute Couture" e il mondo guarda in particolare a Christian Dior e alla sua linea "Corolle", Emilio Pucci elabora una nuova concezione di abbigliamento identificabile come "Sportswear" volto alla libertà del corpo tramite drappeggio del tessuto, forme semplici ed essenziali. L'idea di libertà è una costante per Pucci che rielabora il tema fino ad oggi. Quest'idea viene ripresa nei suoi tessuti: seta, organza, gabardina di cotone e mussolina.
Fu quindi un pioniere della moda italiana, partecipando per esempio alla prima sfilata di moda tenutasi in Italia, che fu organizzata per il 12 febbraio 1951 da Giovanni Battista Giorgini a Firenze, presso Villa Torrigiani in Via dei Serragli.
Partecipò nel 1952, con Roberto Capucci, Vincenzo Ferdinandi, la Sartoria Antonelli, l'atelier Carosa, Giovannelli-Sciarra, Germana Marucelli, Mirsa, Polinober, la Sartoria Vanna e Jole Veneziani alla prima storica sfilata presso la Sala Bianca di Palazzo Pitti a Firenze.
Fondata l'omonima azienda (Emilio Pucci) agli inizi degli anni cinquanta del XX secolo, tra i suoi primi successi vanno ricordati la linea di vestiti di seta stampata senza pieghe. "The Prince of Prints" così viene riconosciuto per circa trent'anni dalla stampa del mondo anglosassone, inoltre nel 1954 gli viene assegnato il più prestigioso dei trofei, il "Neiman-Marcus Award", per il distinto servizio reso nel campo della moda.
Ebbe un rapporto speciale con la città dei suoi antenati, Firenze, e nel Palazzo Pucci stabilì il quartier generale della sua casa di moda, dove infatti si trova tuttora. L'indirizzo stesso della maison, come pochi al mondo potevano vantare, era di per sé un vanto e rifletteva la sua origine nobile: "Marchese Emilio Pucci, Palazzo Pucci, Via de' Pucci 6, Firenze". Nel corso della sua vita ha applicato le sue creazioni ai campi più disparati, ricevendo sempre ammirazione e riconoscimenti, grazie al suo stile fresco ed elegante. Molto popolare negli Stati Uniti, disegnò per esempio lo stemma per la tuta degli astronauti della NASA per la missione dell'Apollo 15; oppure disegnò le divise per le hostess, i piloti e il personale della compagnia Braniff International Airways tra il 1965 e il 1977, colorate e assolutamente innovative rispetto al panorama di allora; in Italia disegnò le divise classiche dei Vigili urbani, con i lunghi guanti bianchi e gli elmetti ovali sulla divisa blu. Nel frattempo le attività di stilista si allargarono alla moda maschile, ai profumi, alla produzione di ceramica per la casa.
Entrato nel mondo della politica, venne eletto consigliere comunale deputato tra le file del Partito Liberale Italiano, dal 1963 al 1972, ricoprendo la carica di Sottosegretario al Ministero dei Trasporti.
Si spense a Firenze il 29 novembre 1992.
Suo figlio Alessandro, 11º Marchese di Barsento, morì in un incidente stradale nel 1998.
Sua figlia Laudomia ha ereditato la direzione del marchio Emilio Pucci.
Dopo la sua scomparsa nel 1992, il design degli abiti passò alla figlia Laudomia Pucci. Nel 2000 il gruppo francese LVMH (Louis Vuitton), acquistò l'azienda, i diritti sul logo Emilio Pucci e sulle creazioni storiche rilanciando la griffe nel mercato internazionale. Il legame con il passato si manifesta con la valorizzazione del catalogo storico e la rivisitazione di modelli e motivi. Tra gli stilisti che vi hanno operato vi sono Stephan Janson, Julio Espada e Christian Lacroix. Laudomia oggi si occupa dell'immagine complessiva della maison, che conta circa 50 boutique in località esclusive nel mondo e il cui fatturato viene realizzato al 60% tra Italia, Stati Uniti e Giappone.