Since its founding in 1961 in Toronto, Canada, Ports has embodied the stylish, working independent woman of the day. Success in North America led to expansion into the UK in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and then in the 1990’s the brand was the first western luxury brand to enter the then nascent China market. This astute business move proved hugely successful and led to the company’s IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2003. As of today, Ports operates a network of over 380 luxury stores throughout China and is one of the most recognized luxury brands in the country.
In 2004, Ports turned its attention again to North America, Europe and the Middle East with the advent of ‘Ports 1961’ as the brand’s luxury flagship collection. This launch also saw the move of the Ports headquarters from Toronto to New York in the same year, and the opening of the Michael Gabellini-designed flagship in Los Angeles in 2006 brought Ports 1961 style to the west coast of North America. The New York flagship meanwhile, opened its doors in the historic Meatpacking District only a few months later in 2007. In the UK, Ports 1961’s first concession at Harvey Nichols in London opened to great fanfare in late 2010.
The 50th anniversary of Ports, in 2011, was a milestone year for the brand. Ports 1961 launched its menswear line, which for Fall Winter 2012 was hailed as one of the premier collections shown during the Milan Men’s Fashion Week. The collection embodies a continental-modern approach in style with homage to traditional luxury make from select Italian ateliers, and can be found in a growing number of high-end department and specialty stores in Canada, the Middle East, Europe and the US.
In the same year, Ports 1961’s Paris flagship opened on the famed rue Saint-Honoré, featuring the complete Ports 1961 Women’s collection to which the Men’s collection was added in 2012.
Also in 2011, Ports 1961 design and production teams re-located to a new design studio & showroom space housed within a thirteenth century courtyard villa in Milan, ensuring that Fiona and her team were close to their suppliers. With both Ports 1961 Men’s and Women’s collections 100% made in Italy by the most exclusive, artisanal craftsmen, the brand’s objective of attaining that perfect blend of modern luxury had been reached.
In the exciting and dynamic world of fashion and design, Ports 1961 is clear on its direction. It is one of style and sophistication, where thoughtful design, the careful selection of luxurious fabrics and the unparalleled skills of the world’s best artisans all have a part to play. “To me”, Fiona says, “the Ports 1961 man and woman have always embodied quality, taste and elegance – both are confident in who they are, and possess an ageless spirit.”