Joseph – High-End Luxury Fashion Stores and namesake label
Founded by the late Joseph Ettedgu
View Joseph Fashion collections on London Fashion Review Blog
The Late Joseph Ettegui
Joseph Ettedgui: The Man Behind Joseph
Born in Casablanca in 1938, the son of a French Moroccan retailer, Joseph Ettedgui came to London, with his brothers, at the end of the fifties to learn the art of hairdressing. In 1960, Joseph and his brothers opened the hair salon, ‘Salon 33’, on London’s Kings Road. Eager to explore new avenues, and with an interest in fashion, Joseph began to display clothing in his salon through a friendship with Kenzo. In 1972, Joseph was stacking striped sweaters, by Kenzo, in the window of his salon, when they were noticed by then fashion editor of The Sunday Times, Michael Roberts. Roberts used the Kenzo sweaters in a photo shoot; the day after the shoot appeared in print, the sweaters had sold out. In the same year, Joseph opened his first fashion shop downstairs to his hairdressing salon, which ultimately laid the foundations for his future success in the fashion industry.
Joseph: Multi-Brand Visionaries
“I like to dress people, not to make them fashionable,” – Joseph Ettedgui
The Joseph fashion label is known for its simple yet adventurously minimal European style; the man himself stimulated his love for more radical fashion by celebrating the work of fellow designers. Since those days, in the early 1970’s, selling Kenzo sweaters from the windows of his hairdressing salon, Joseph Ettedgui continued to introduce Britain to the best and new innovative designers. Throughout his career, Ettedgui championed many a fashion revolutionary including the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela. It was the way Joseph sold it, in high-tech, chrome-and-glass stores that had the streamlined ambience of an Art Deco cruise ship. In the fashion world today, this look would be considered cliché, but in the late 1979, when Joseph’s first multi-brand outlet opened on London’s Sloane Street, the look was ground-breaking. It would set the tone for the rest of Joseph Ettedgui’s career.
Joseph: A Brand History
Joseph is one of the most respected and influential brands in British fashion, due in part to the retail sense and fashion vision of founder Joseph Ettegdui, which enables the brand to adapt the Joseph outlets to the constantly changing needs of his customers. Since the 1970’s, the brand has been at the forefront of high fashion, discovering and promoting talented designers, as well as designing the Joseph collections.
The brand opened its first outlet store in 1979 before Joseph’s own collection was launched, selling the wares of the hottest designers of the time, helping shape the face of British fashion. Ettedgui created his first collection under his own name in 1983, which prompted a period of rapid brand expansion. During the 1980’s, Joseph opened branches in New York, Paris and Tokyo, and launched his knitwear collection, Joseph Tricot, and Joseph Denim. Additionally, he opened Joe’s Café on London’s Draycot Avenue, which became one of the hottest London eateries. Still with a passion for fashion that went beyond his own label, Ettedgui continued to use his influence to help nurture the careers of many of today’s biggest names in fashion, including Katharine Hamnett, Franco Moschino and John Galliano.
During the 1990s, the brand continued to expand, adding another string to the bow with the home wear collection, Joseph Pour la Maison. The brand continued to be successful; however Ettedgui found himself wanting to take distancefrom his empire. In 1999, he sold the majority shares of Joseph to Belgian and French investors so he and his wife Isabella could purchase the English Leather brand, Connolly.. Connolly had supplied the leather interiors for luxury cars for the likes of Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and Jaguar and even the seats of Spitfires during World War II. Joseph had ambitions of turning Connolly into a luxury brand and opened a Connolly flagship store in London’s Mayfair, concentrating mainly on top end menswear. Unfortunately, Connolly never took off in the way Joseph had hoped and the flagship finally closed its doors early in 2010. In the same year Joseph Ettedgui sadly passed away after losing his battle with cancer, but his legacy will live on in the overwhelming contribution he made to British Fashion.
“Joseph was a great designer, retailer and entrepreneur. His stores have brought together contemporary designers with his own name designs since the early seventies. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues in the industry and the brand that he has left behind is sure to continue for generations.” – Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council.
As of 2011, the Joseph fashion brand continues to champion the best of global and British fashion. Joseph continues to operate stores globally, including in London, Manchester, New York, Paris and Cannes. The Joseph collection is also stocked in a number of concessions including at Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges, and Fenwick (of Bond Street) which includes a JOE’S restaurant. Additionally there are two further JOE’S restaurants in London, on Draycott Avenue and on Sloane Street.
Timeline Snapshot: Important Dates
- 1960: Joseph Ettedgui opens his hairdressing salon, Salon 33
- 1972: Joseph begins selling Kenzo sweaters from the window of Salon 33, which became an instant success with his customers.
- 1979: Joseph Ettedgui opened his first outlet store on London’s Sloane Street.
- 1984: The first Joe’s Café opens on London’s Sloane Street.
- 1985: The first Joseph fragrance, Parfum de Jour, is launched.
- 1987: The first Joseph standalone store opens on New York’s Madison Avenue.
- 1990-1994: The brand wins the Knitwear Designer of the Year Award at the British Fashion Awards four times (every year except 1991).
- 1999: Ettedgui, sold the majority of his shares in the Joseph brand to Belgian investors, Compagnie Nationale à Portefeuille.
- 2005: The Joseph brand is acquired for £140 million by Japanese fashion company, Onward Kashiyama, a long-time licensee of JOSEPH in Japan.
- 2010: Joseph Ettegui sadly loses his battle against pancreatic cancer.
To view the recent collections of Joseph and the full list of stocked designers, visit the official Joseph website.