British retailer and fashion entrepreneur
Born: in Casablanca, 1938; immigrated to England, 1965. Family: Married twice; two children. Career: Hairdresser, Joseph Salon 33, London, 1969-72; proprietor, Coco boutique, 1974; established chain of shops including Joseph, from 1977, Joseph Tricot and Joseph pour
Roberts, Michael, Joseph Tricot, London, 1986.
Coleridge, Nicholas, The Fashion Conspiracy, London, 1988.
Manser, José, Eva Jiricna, and Joseph Ettedgui, The Joseph Shop: London, 1983-1989, New York & London, 1991.
Hoppen, Kelly, with foreword by Joseph Ettedgui, In Touch: Texture in Design, San Diego, 2000.
Cleave, Maureen, "Makers of Modern Fashion: Joseph," in the Observer Magazine (London), 5 October 1980.
Miller, Sarah, "Joseph: Where Fashion Meets Design," in Blueprint (London), June 1984.
White, Lesley, "Saint Joseph," in The Face (London), June 1984.
Brampton, Sally, "Still Crazy," in the Observer, 24 March 1985.
Miller, Sarah, "Stainless Reputation," in Elle (London), 29 September 1985.
Appleyard, Bryan, "Coordinated Style of a Clone Prince," in the Times (London), 4 June 1986.
Verdier, Rosy, "Joseph: Un homme de mode," in L'Officiel (Paris), August 1986.
Jaffe, Michele, "Ragtrade to Riches: My First Million: Joseph," in the Observer Magazine, 25 October 1987.
"Joe's Public," in Fashion Weekly (London), 7 January 1988.
De Gramont, Laurie, "Joseph le lutin," in Vogue (Paris), September 1988.
Filmer, Denny, "The Story of Joseph," in Cosmopolitan (London), December 1988.
Gandee, Charles, "The Merchant of Style," in House & Garden (NewYork), April 1989.
Brampton, Sally, "Joe Cool," in Elle (London), October 1989.
Fallon, James, "Driving Fashion His Own Way (Joseph Ettedgui)," in WWD, 29 January 1997.
McColl, Pat, "Tracing Avenue Montaigne's Slow Evolution to a Must Mecca for the Elite," in the International Herald Tribune, 15 March 1997.
Fallon, James, "Ettedgui's New Store…," in DNR, 31 March 1997.
——, "Heeere's Joseph," in DNR, 8 December 1997.
"Transforming Tradition," in WWD, 23 February 1999.
Fallon, James, and Katherine Weisman, "LVMH's Joseph Connection," in WWD, 23 September 1999.
Menkes, Suzy, "Offstage Action Steals the Show," in the International Herald Tribune, 28 September 1999.
"Designer Wins Fashion Accolade," available online at BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk , 19 February 2000.
Trocme, Suzanne, "Joseph's Technicolor Dream Shop," in Interior Design, April 2001.
A love of precision and a good eye for detail underpin Joseph Ettedgui's skills as an entrepreneur, enabling him to build up a group of shops which bring together a selection of the best and most innovative contemporary designer fashions alongside his own strong self-named lines, all aimed at a modern and confident clientéle.
The endless black and chrome of his London stores defined the stark monochromatic obsession of the 1980s and spawned endless concrete-floored imitators, eager to espouse the same sense of sophisticated style but unable to match his unfaltering mix of carefully chosen labels. Wise enough not to buy entire collections, he selected only the most streamlined and well designed pieces. His constant search for perfection, combined with convincingly structured in-store and window displays, brought many designers to the fore. So influential is Ettedgui's choice of names that his favor can raise a designer's status overnight. Having overseen the careers of many, including Kenzo, Katharine Hamnett, Franco Moschino, John Galliano, and Bodymap, he continues to purvey a mixture of new and established names.
The omnipresent black Ettedgui favored during the 1980s spread throughout the fashion world, as endless stretch-fit Azzedine Alaïa dresses hung from his rails, mingling with the bold suiting that ruled the decade. His power as a buyer is huge, backing avant-garde designers and hand-picking new talents who often found such support or retail space difficult to secure. The slick image of the Joseph emporia was underlined by the stark black and white minimalism of the shops; yet in 1997 the designer completely rehauled his stores to make them less sterile, more comfortable, and even fun. Fun? As Ettedgui explained to Women's Wear Daily (29 January 1997), "Stores provide too much stability today. You have to give customers the element of surprise, because shops should be like a stage that changes every three months."
Ettedgui's own Joseph lines, which slowly gained in popularity, have always complemented the other labels he sells. They provide classic garments to be mixed with other designer wear, or constitute carefully designed and coordinated outfits themselves. Joseph pour la Ville provides smart suiting and witty, easy to wear casuals. Alongside the bright, bold, striped trouser suits with shiny gilt buttons he produced in 1989 were more relaxed and feminine sheer georgette skirts and multicolored waistcoats, the subtle shades of which added a twist to the more pervasive dark hues. His ranges always contain clothes for every occasion, directed at the sophisticated metropolitan. The silhouette is usually well defined, to enhance the wearer with its simple chic, like the matte violet and beige column dresses side split to the waist for the evening in 1991, with three buttons at the top of each slash adding definition to the plain line.
Running alongside these classic garments is the Joseph Tricot collection, filled with thick rib woolens to layer with softer leggings and strikingly patterned cardigans and tube skirts, as well as subtletoned wrap tops and fine jersey t-shirts. In 1987 chunky cream cardigans with little gold buttons were given bold black decoration, one of his perennial basic designs. These complemented more fashion-led shapes and yarns, like the claret chenille belted jackets of 1992 and the huge rose off-the-shoulder jumper with wide foldover collar shown in 1991.
In 1996 and 1997 new Joseph stores opened in New York (bringing the total to three) along with a second London store. The new London shop was Ettedgui's first freestanding menswear shop; additional men's-only stores were slated to follow in major U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago, and Miami. Then in early 1999 Ettedgui bought a controlling interest in Connolly Luxury Goods, which specialized in custom leather. His wife, Isabella, was the firm's designer. Ettedgui commented on the Connolly acquisition to Women's Wear Daily (23 February 1999), stating, "I've been retailing for a long time, and the Connolly type of luxury is what interests me now…. Fashion today is about beautiful things, very understated."
In late 1999 Ettedgui and his brothers Franklin and Maurice surprised many by selling a 54-percent stake in the Joseph brand to Belgian financier Albert Frere, and a minority interest to luxury giant LVMH. A few months later, Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, presented Ettedgui with the Contemporary Collection award. The recognition and accolades were long overdue for the designer, who had been shaping fashion for nearly three decades.
Joseph Ettedgui, designer, retailer, and entrepreneur, is widely recognized in the fashion world for his profound contributions not only to apparel, but to the atmosphere in which apparel is bought and sold. His ability to act as a catalyst, bringing together the work of innovative designers as well as classic ensembles—many from his own designs—has provided a unique environment for both men and women seeking clothing and accessories for not only occasions for but for an entire lifestyle.
updated by BrianLouwers