By  on January 30, 2012

MILAN — Leonardo Servadio, founder of sportswear company Ellesse that was a major force in the Seventies and Eighties, died last week in his hometown of Perugia, Italy, at age 87.

Servadio founded his company in 1959 as a manufacturer of pants, naming it Ellesse after his own initials. He invested heavily in production techniques and in research and development. Servadio believed in the need to innovate fabrics and technology and the company became a leader in the production of skiwear and tenniswear globally. Ellesse reached its peak in the Seventies and Eighties, as top-ranking tennis players worldwide, including Chris Evert and Boris Becker, donned the brand on the courts.

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