Not Just A Label – Escada

Margaretha Ley was Swedish and born in 1933. She showed a passion and hunger for fashion her entire life. Starting by studying design at the Swedish Royal Court, then moving to Paris after she won the Miss Sweden Beauty contest, where she became a top model and advisor to the fashion industry. She continued to study, specifically drape and cut, developing her own skills and personal design. She married a knitwear factory owner, and took over his business after his sudden death. Then working for the French Couture House of Jacques Fath, all before founding Escada with her second husband Wolfgang Ley in 1978 near Munich in Germany. The company was named after an Irish thoroughbred racehorse named Escada which they had bet on and it had won. They hoped that their enterprise would also be as successful.

Margaretha Ley was the chief designer for the group until her death in 1992. She developed for Escada, a distinctive style, clean, slick, sophisticated and fun. She was progressive in her use of bold colours, when most designers were working in black. After her death, Michael Stolzenberg became the new chief designer. While retaining Escada’s classic and sophisticated look, he also introduced a more youthful and modern perspective to the company. He maintained Escada’s success for the following two years until his death.

Since Stolzenberg’s death, Escada has been run by Tom Oldham as creative consultant, who has introduced Escada Sport and Escada Knit. The fashion house continues to be celebrated for their unusual collections; and the creative spirit of Margaretha and Wolfgang Ley is still apparent in Escada’s style and prevailing success.

Shop Escada in our collection: 1980s Green Statement Jacket 

1980s Black Cable Knit Jumper with Pearl Detail