Next to Armani, global giant Hugo Boss is arguably the most recognisable suiting label in the world. In the forty-five years since the house began making suits, the label has been a dominant force in the market, with six hundred stores worldwide and a presence in 108 countries. With collections for every demographic, from urban sport to demi-bespoke, Hugo Boss continues to expand its global reach.
Founded in 1923 by the eponymous Austrian tailor, Hugo Boss began life as a manufacturer of workwear, shifting gear in the '60s to produce men's suiting and again in 1970 with the launch of fashion brand Boss. Listed on the German stock exchange in 1985, the majority shareholding of Hugo Boss GmbH was acquired by Italian fashion group Maraotto SpA in 1991. Under Marzotto, Boss diversified with the younger, directional Hugo label (which is designed by Volker Kaechele) and more sophisticated Baldessarini brand.
Boss - which is led by designer Lothar Reiff, photographed above - is now split into Boss Selection (demi-bespoke suiting), Boss Black (mainline), Boss Orange (urban sportswear) and Boss Green (active sportswear) with Hugo womenswear launched in 1998 and Boss Black womenswear in 2000.
In 2004 Marzotto reported that Boss menswear turned over ˆ 1,000 million and Boss womenswear a further ˆ 69 million. Hugo Boss was early in adopting the policy of linking the brand to glamorous men's sports, such as their pioneering sponsorship deals with Porsche (1971), the Davis Cup (1988), Seve Ballesteros (1988), AC Milan (1995) and Chelsea FC (2004). Like Prada Group CEO Patrizio Bertelli, the house has become affiliated to sailing and sponsored Hugo Boss Farr 65 in the Fastnet Race in 2003.
In 1996 Hugo Boss established the biannual Hugo Boss Art Prize in conjunction with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.