Willy Bogner (Jr.) - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia

German sportswear designer

Born: Munich, 23 January 1942, son of Maria and Willy Bogner Sr. Family: Married Sonia Ribeiro, 1973. Career: Willy Bogner GmbH established by Willy Sr., 1936; company began outfitting West German ski teams, from 1936; mother Maria designed revolutionary ski pants, dubbed "Bogners," 1948; skiied in Olympics, 1960 and 1964; took over family business, 1970s; U.S. subsidiary, Bogner of America, formed, 1976; began opening stores in U.S., 1985; launched fragrance, Bogner Man and bath and body lines; began extensive licensing program for leather accessories, eyewear, jeans, socks, shoes, gloves, jewelry, and bikewear, from 1990s; new licensing agreement with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, 1999; also performed ski stunts in Bond films and others; then filmmaker with over two dozen films to his credit. Address: Willy Bogner GmbH & Co. KG, Postfach 80-02-80 Sankt-Veit Strasse 4, 8000 Munich 80, Germany.




Lambert, Eleanor, World of Fashion: People, Places, Resources, New York & London, 1976.


Conant, Jennet, "Flash on the Slopes: Designer-Director Bogner

Heats Up the Ski Scene," in Newsweek, 23 December 1985.

"Big Bucks Bogner," in Forbes, 13 January 1986.

Brooks, Hollis, "Designing Skiers," in Skiing, October 1994.

Feitelberg, Rosemary, "Jump-Starting Bogner Shop," in Women's Wear Daily , 26 October 1995.

"Cosmopolitan Continues Product Offensive (License Agreement with Willy Bogner)," in Soap Perfumery & Cosmetics, May 1999.

Drier, Melissa, "Bogner Licensing Plan: $80 Million in Three Years," in Women's Wear Daily, 22 November 2000.


The Bogner ski and sportswear company has been run by the Bogner family since its founding by Willy Bogner Sr. in 1936. Bogner Sr. was called the "Dior of ski fashion" while his wife Maria was considered the "Coco Chanel of sports fashion." Both Bogner Sr. and Bogner Jr.'s status as producers of the most stylish skiwear available is practically unrivaled, and the company bearing their name is just as well known for the unparalleled fit and quality workmanship of its activewear. The successful combination of design, cut, and technically-advanced fabrics has earned the Bogner company loyal customers throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.

The Bogner name has stood for innovation in the skiwear field since the introduction of Maria's stretch trousers design in 1948. The trousers were immediately popular owing to their feminine look, as compared to previous women's skiwear which was decidedly masculine and unflattering. Devotees of the new "Bogners,"as they were known at the time, included internationally recognized women such as Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. The Bogner company also pioneered the development of the one-piece ski suit and the use of stretch fabrics. Their first one-piece racing suits were worn by the 1960 West German Olympic ski team; the team was subsequently outfitted and sponsored by the Bogner company for decades.

Willy Bogner Jr. joined the company in the early 1970s and continued the tradition of design innovation. The U.S. subsidiary, Bogner of America, was formed in 1976 and over the next three decades the variety of Bogner products grew to include cross-country skiwear, tennis and golf ensembles, swimwear, general sportswear, the Fire & Ice snowboarding line for younger enthusiasts, and an ever-growing range of accessories. In the middle and late 1990s, Bogner went on a licensing spree to spearhead expansion. While the Bogner name had already appeared on sports-related accessories available in its stores, licensing agreements brought Bogner products from shoes, boots, and socks, to bath and body products, jeans, gloves, and jewelry to worldwide markets.

Although the company had expanded into varied lines of sports-and actionwear, its skiwear remained the foremost vehicle for creative expression by its design team, headed by Willy Bogner Jr. His high energy personality encompassed multiple interests, from his own skiing career as a member of the West German Olympic ski team in 1960 and 1964, to films (the ski chase scenes from four James Bond films were filmed under his direction). Bogner's energy and skills have been evident in the creative motifs decorating his skiwear. Some collections have included Egyptian designs with detachable feathers; exotic embossed designs and turban-like headgear; suits with music-playing appartus; and younger-themed combinations of contrasting designs for the Fire & Ice line debuted in the early 1990s.

In the middle and later 1990s, Bogner incorporated snowboarding garb (considered by some as merely "street fashion"on the slopes) into the vocabulary of mainstream ski fashion. Bogner Jr.'s wife Sonia joined the design team to help inspire and create a more classic and feminine part of the collection bearing her name. Her styles were for the more subdued and sophisticated female customer, with such design details as cashmere linings and fur trims.

Despite the often outrageous decorative themes, the purpose of Bogner activewear has never been forgotten. A fabric may be printed to look like a silk brocade or embroidered with an intricate design, but it is still wind-and water-resistant. It is this attention to the practical needs of the wearer, coupled with a desire for style, that has kept Bogner an enduring leader in the world of activewear. Bogner élan is to the slopes what haute couture is to fashion.

—Melinda L.Watt;

updated by NellyRhodes

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