Ultimo (brand)

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For other uses, see Ultimo (disambiguation).
Ultimo logo
Lady Mone, Ultimo's founder, 2013

Ultimo is a Glasgow-headquartered designer lingerie brand, majority owned by Sri Lanka-based lingerie group MAS Holdings. It was founded in 1996 by Michelle Mone (now Baroness Mone), via her company MJM International Ltd., with her ex-husband Michael. In 2013, after their marriage collapsed, Ultimo was transferred to joint venture company Ultimo Brands International Ltd, an equal partnership between Michelle Mone and MAS Holdings. In November 2014, Mone sold the majority of her stake to MAS Holdings. In August 2015, Mone resigned from the boards of MJM International Ltd and Ultimo Brands International Ltd.[1]

History[edit]

Michelle Mone was born and grew up in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland.[2] After an early career as a model, she 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 bra at a dinner dance, that she could create a better design. Her stated aims were to create a bra that was both more comfortable, and better looking, creating more cleavage.[3]

With her then husband Michael, Mone founded MJM International Ltd in November 1996. After three years of research, design, and development the company patented the Ultimo bra. In August 1999 Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London. 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 were twelve Ultimo stores across the UK and Ireland. In addition, MJM International supplied 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 January 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 a bra made from 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] However, she was replaced a year later by Stewart's ex-wife Rachel Hunter, and 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] yet two of his daughters - Kimberly and Ruby - have since modelled for 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]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michelle Mone announces Ultimo stake sale". BBC. 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  2. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". The Daily Telegraph. 9 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Michelle Mone Press Information" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  4. ^ London, Bianca (2012-09-19). "Happy birthday, Ultimo! As the British lingerie brand celebrates its 13th birthday, FEMAIL looks back at the girls behind the bras". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  5. ^ Nicholl, Katie (2010-06-13). "Thanks for the support but I'm off, Kelly Brook tell Ultimo bras". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  6. ^ "Helena Christensen unveiled as new Ultimo model". Glamour. 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  7. ^ Gemma Atkinson signed up to be Ultimo’s ‘angel’ Archived 27 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Waterlow, Lucy (2013-12-12). "Mrs Bublé Leaves Ultimo In Style: New Mother Luisana Lopilato Looks Stunning In Last Lingerie Shoot For Brand". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  9. ^ "Strictly in her underwear: Kara Tointon drops the sequins to model bras for Michelle For George". Daily Mail. 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  10. ^ Johnson, Chris (2009-09-21). "Mel B turns Vegas showgirl as she poses in sexy Ultimo underwear for the last time". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  11. ^ Wain, Natalie (2010-10-23). "What a sweetie! Sugababe Jade Ewen sizzles in candy coloured underwear (singer is new Miss Ultimo)". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  12. ^ Sheridan, Emily (2008-02-08). "Red hot Valentines: Sarah Harding and Gemma Atkinson's racy new lingerie ads". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Michelle Mone: Life's starting to take shape". Belfast Telegraph. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  14. ^ "GMTV presenter Jenni Falconer Unveiled". Daily Mail. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  15. ^ Scott, Paul (2009-05-15). "Look Away Now Saint Bob". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  16. ^ "That's one Mel of a corset". The Sun. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  17. ^ Jones, Toni (2013-11-19). "Melanie Sykes and her six pack are back! Presenter, 43, is sensational as the face and body of Ultimo's Christmas lingerie campaign". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  18. ^ Metcalfe, Luisa (2015-01-26). "Petra Nemcova replaces pregnant Abbey Clancy as the face of Ultimo underwear (and kicks off her new campaign by revealing an unairbrushed lingerie shot)". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  19. ^ Lach, Stef (2004-04-07). "Michelle courts people when they're useful to her...when she's finished with them that's it; Another model hits out at bra boss". The Daily Mirror. The Free Library. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  20. ^ Morley, Nicole (2014-08-07). "Bra-vo! Ultimo boss Michelle Mone life story to become big screen blockbuster". Daily Star. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  21. ^ "Ultimo boss Michelle Mone reveals secrets of success". Manchester Evening News. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  22. ^ "Rod's Missing Bhoys for Me; The face and body of Ultimo, Penny Lancaster, reveals how her rocker lover will be watching her instead of his beloved Celtic this weekend". Daily Record. The Free Library. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Rachel Outshines Penny Again". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  24. ^ Simpson, Richard; Baracaia, Alexa (2004-05-18). "Penny's £1m revenge". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  25. ^ "Rod's revenge; Star Slams Bra Queen". Sunday Mail. The Free Library. 2004-03-28. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  26. ^ Tait, Gordon (2007-05-04). "Kimberley's Model Deal Risks Ultimo Wrath of Rod". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  27. ^ "Ruby Stewart Sparkles in New Campaign for Ultimo Lingerie Brand". Daily Mail. 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  28. ^ Bull, Sarah (2010-09-27). "Forget Kelly Brook and Sarah Harding... Ultimo's Michelle Mone Hires Herself as an Underwear Model After Losing Six Stone". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  29. ^ Arthurs, Deborah (2011-04-19). "Ultimo Signs Up Seven 'Real' Women for New Lingerie Range... and No, That Doesn't Mean Fat". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  30. ^ Cliff, Martha (2014-09-03). "These Inspiring Women Have Battled Weight Issues and Overcome Cancer - and Now They Feel So Body-Confident They're Stripping Off!". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  31. ^ Gillard, Jemma (2014-09-10). "Keeping It In The Family: Rebecca Mone Launches Her Modelling Career By Being The Face of Her Mum's New Ultimo Lingerie Range". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 

External links[edit]