Ultimo (brand)

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For other uses, see Ultimo (disambiguation).
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Michelle Mone, founder of Ultimo, 2013

Ultimo is a Glaswegian designer lingerie brand. Founded in 1996 by Michelle Mone via her company MJM Ltd with her ex-husband Michael, in 2013 after their relationship collapsed Ultimo was transferred to JV company Ultimo Brands International in partnership with Sri Lanka-based lingerie group MAS Holdings. In November 2014, Mone sold most of her majority stake to MAS Holdings, and bought a fake tan company.[1]

History[edit]

Michelle Mone, born 1971,[2] grew up in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland and, after an early career as a model, ran Labatt's Scottish sales and marketing team. After being made redundant and having her second child, in October 1996 she decided, while wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassiere at a dinner dance, that she could create a better design. Her stated aims were to create a brassiere that was both more comfortable, and better looking, creating more cleavage.[3]

She founded MJM International Ltd in November 1996, and three years of research, design, and development resulted in the patented Ultimo bra. In August 1999, a month after having her third child, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London. Selfridges sold the pre-launch estimate of six weeks of stock within 24 hours, which as of 2009 was still cited by MJM as the biggest media launch of a bra in Great Britain, with over 50 photographers present and camera crews from all over the world.[citation needed]

In May 2000, Ultimo was launched in the United States at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York.[3]

In September 2003, MJM launched their third design, The Ultimo Miracle Body, a backless and front-less bra. In April 2004, the company launched a new lingerie brand with Asda, branded "Michelle for George", and in September 2006, launched "Adore Moi" for Debenhams.

In May 2007, MJM moved beyond lingerie, with the launch of the "Trim Secrets" diet pill.

MJM International signed a deal with Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman to open stand alone Ultimo stores within Debenhams. The first Ultimo shop opened in Glasgow's Debenhams Silverburn in October 2007. As of June 2008, there are twelve Ultimo stores across the UK and Ireland. In addition, MJM International currently supply Debenhams, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Next, Grattan, Littlewoods, Figleaves, and ASOS.com, along with a number of independent lingerie stores.

Marketing[edit]

Ultimo has named numerous celebrities as the face and body of the brand, as well as other underwear ranges that fall under its banner.[4] Among them are models Kelly Brook, (Ultimo D-G cup) [5] and Helena Christensen [6] actresses Gemma Atkinson (Ultimo D-G cup) [7] Luisana Lopilato,[8] and Kara Tointon (Michelle for George),[9] singers Mel B,[10] Jade Ewen (Miss Ultimo),[11] Sarah Harding,[12] and Samantha Mumba (Per Amore), [13] television presenters Jenni Falconer (Adore Moi),[14] Peaches Geldof (Miss Ultimo),[15] Melinda Messenger, [16] and Melanie Sykes (Adore Moi). [17] As of 2015, the current Ultimo model is Petra Nemcova who replaced Abbey Clancy.[18]

The first Ultimo girl was Scottish model Mary Kennedy, [19] but after the brand went global when Julia Roberts wore an Ultimo prototype in Erin Brockovich,[20][21] Penny Lancaster, the future wife of singer Rod Stewart, became the first high-profile Ultimo girl,[22] but was replaced a year later by Stewart's ex-wife Rachel Hunter; founder Mone later expressed that she had always wanted Hunter but was unable to afford her.[23] The decision, dubbed "Bra Wars" by the British press, was seen as a publicity stunt [24] which infuriated Stewart who described Mone as "manipulative".[25] Two of his daughters - Kimberly and Ruby - have since also modelled Ultimo (Adore Moi[26] and Michelle for George[27] respectively).

In 2010, Mone promoted her brand by posing in specially-designed underwear after losing six stone.[28] Following the success of her Ultimo debut, in 2011 [29] and 2014 [30] she recruited non-models to front a new 'real woman' campaign. In 2014, Mone's daughter Rebecca became the face of Ultimo, modelling for the DD-G range.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-29883072
  2. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". Daily Telegraph (London). 9 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Michelle Mone Press Information" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Happy birthday, Ultimo! As the British lingerie brand celebrates its 13th birthday, FEMAIL looks back at the girls behind the bras
  5. ^ Thanks for the support but I'm off, Kelly Brook tell Ultimo bras
  6. ^ Helena Christensen unveiled as new Ultimo model
  7. ^ Gemma Atkinson signed up to be Ultimo’s ‘angel’ | Showbiz Gossip, Showbiz News, Entertainment News - Showbiz Spy[dead link]
  8. ^ Luisana Leaves in Style
  9. ^ Kara Tointon Drops Sequins
  10. ^ Mel B for Ultimo
  11. ^ What a Sweetie!
  12. ^ Red Hot Valentines
  13. ^ Samantha Mumba Launches Per Amore Range
  14. ^ GMTV presenter Jenni Falconer Unveiled
  15. ^ Look Away Now Saint Bob
  16. ^ That's one Mel of a corset
  17. ^ [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2509434/Melanie-Sykes-pack-Ultimos-Christmas-campaign.html Melanie Sykes and her Six Pack}
  18. ^ Petra Nemcova Replaces Abbey Clancy
  19. ^ Mary Kennedy Ultimo
  20. ^ Bra-vo! Ultimo boss Michelle Mone life story to become big screen blockbuster
  21. ^ Ultimo boss Michelle Mone reveals secrets of success
  22. ^ Rod's Missing Bhoys for Me
  23. ^ Rachel Outshines Penny
  24. ^ Penny's £1m revenge
  25. ^ Rod's revenge; STAR SLAMS BRA OUEEN - Ultimo boss is a manipulative cow
  26. ^ Kimberley's Model Deal
  27. ^ Ruby Stewart Sparkles
  28. ^ Ultimo Boss Strips
  29. ^ Ultimo Signs Up Seven Real Women
  30. ^ Ultimo's Real Woman
  31. ^ Keeping it in the Family!

External links[edit]