By  on October 21, 2010

MILAN — Laudomia Pucci is to be awarded with the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres honor by the French Embassy in Rome later this year.

Founded in 1957, the decoration recognizes those who stand out for their artistic or literary creations, or for the contribution that they have brought to the diffusion of the arts and the letters in France and in the world. “The French are very good at this because their focus is global,” Pucci, daughter of founder Emilio Pucci, told WWD. “I have a second soul that is French and am especially happy to receive this decoration.”

Pucci joined the company in 1985 working on management, creation, fittings, fashion shows and staff reorganization for two years. After a stint at Hubert de Givenchy in Paris, she became chief executive officer of Pucci in 1989, a position she held until 2000. She relaunched and restructured the company, and redefined its style, image, marketing and commercial and global distribution. In 1998, Pucci began showing during Milan Fashion Week.

In 2000, Pucci sold 67 percent of the company to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, becoming deputy chairman and image director of the firm. She has worked over the years with creative directors of the brand, from Julio Espada and Christian Lacroix to Matthew Williamson and, most recently, Peter Dundas, on projects such as brand extension and developing licenses. In 2004, she masterminded the Emilio Pucci Foundation, which was launched at Palazzo Pitti that year.

“You know what they say about the first generation being the genius and the second destroying it all? Well, I’m pleased that, with several changes, we are carrying the brand on into the future,” said Pucci.

And to underscore the continuity of the company, Pucci published with Taschen a coffee-table book on her father’s legacy until today. “I’ve been wanting to do it for such a long time, because there are lots of books on Pucci, but most stopped short of exploring the last 20 years or so. We’ve made giant steps in this period and I wanted to explain what has been happening in recent years,” she said.

The images range from Emilio Pucci rehearsing with his models or his drawings to photos of a 2003 Wally sailing yacht with a Pucci-designed sail to Juergen Teller’s 2009 ad campaigns. “There is so much talk about heritage now, and we wanted to illustrate the brand without this being a chronological tale,” said Pucci, underscoring the new “freshness” of the label achieved with the help of Dundas.

“He is doing a great job, he added buzz to Pucci, he is interested in talking to young girls and they react, they like the brand and they really want it,” she said, noting how especially relevant this is now, with new markets showing “strong desire for fashion.” Pucci mentioned Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and Asia as “strong markets where luxury works well,” in addition to London.

The tome is bound in printed Pucci fabric from recent collections and each copy is different, making each a collector’s item. There is also a Vintage Art Edition of 500 copies, bound in archival Pucci fabrics, signed by Laudomia Pucci and complete with four art prints of original drawings by Emilio Pucci.

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