1932 Together with a friend, Willy Bogner set up the company „Willy-Bogner-Skivertrieb“ importing Norwegian skis, ski accessories and knitwear. In those early days, Bogner’s firm was located in the courtyard of the textile company Feldmeier, the site of today’s renowned, upmarket Ludwig Beck department store. Apart from renting the premises, landlord Gustl Felmeier extended a helping hand to the ambitious Bogner in the form of a generous start-up loan of DM 5.000,-. Willy Bogner spent his days in his store and the evening training and working out along the banks of the Isar, the river that flows through Munich. As a sportsman Willy Bogner, eleventh-time German champion in the Nordic Combination and five-time Bavarian champion, enjoyed increasing popularity.
1936 German Willy Bogner competed in the Olympic Games held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and for the first time the German national team sported a “Bogner” creation, a remarkably well-cut windbreaker designed by Maria Lux, Willy Bogner’s fianc’e. It was this bond that was to lay the groundwork of the Bogner success story, for it combined Maria Bogner’s talet for design and Willy Bogner’s competence in production and marketing matters. This first Olympic event turned out to be a good omen, for Bogner has been appointed the official outfitter to the German National Ski Team ever since.
1937 Willy Bogner and Maria Lux got married. Spurred by Maria Bogner’s feeling for fashion and materials, function and sportive appeal, the Bogner studios soon began designing and producing blouses, traditional Bavarian dresses, linen bodices and outdoor fashion apparel.
1942 Willy Bogner was born. The Second World War dashed the hopes of the young couple and destroyed the expanding sport and fashion enterprise.
1947 Willy Bogner returned home from being a prisoner of war to find that his wife had already taken the first steps to put their business back on its feet again. The first postwar company headquarters consisted of makeshift barracks in Oberaudorf where 25 women worked at venerable sewing machines producing special aprons for the women clearing the debris and wreckage on bomb-sites.
1948 Willy and Maria Bogner proudly announced their first fashion show. Maria Bogner, later to come to fame as the inventor of the stretch ski pants (The “Bogners”), presented her own collection – as model and designer in one person. The new stretch pants were an instant success and the new look for skiers was born! The lively colours and racy cut lent a new, unique element of chic to skiing apparel.
1950 The Bogners moved to new premises, converting what once served as a sauerkraut factory into their company headquarters. The determined couple put the firm back on the road to success. Bogner launched the first men’s collection and the Americans fell in love with the ‘Dior of ski fashion’.
1955 The Bogner success story continued to run its course with their “Tip-Top” ski cap selling by the tens of thousands. Maria Bogner pulled off a coup when she decided to put the little letter “B” on Bogner zippers, a feature subsequently copied worldwide.
1956 The members of the American Women’s National Ski Team refused to wear their ungainly, homespun attire. Willy Bogner was quick to grab the opportunity and payed them a visit, took measurements and the girls got what they wanted: Bogner fashion for sport! Where was Willy Bogner junior at this time? He was still attending high school but already spending a lot of time doing what was soon to mean the world to him – skiing.
By 1960, the company Willy Bogner had 500 employees. Willy Bogner junior wins the famous “Lauberhorn” – downhill race.
All in all, he succeeded in winning 70 cups and medals out of 300 races he participated in. At the same time Willy Bogner studied economics in Munich followed by a study course in clothing technology in Hohenstein two years later. The company opened a branch plat in Mainburg in Lower Bavaria.
1968 The Bogner firm processed an annual 855.000 meters of top cloth, 170.000 meters of lining material, 105.780.000 meters of sewing thread, 9.600.000 meters of zippers as well as sewing on a total of 202.000 buttons. The company’s 800 employees succeeded in achieving annual sales of nearly 40 million DM.
1971 Willy Bogner junior created his first collection which was named “Formula-W”.
1972 Willy Bogner assumed responsibility for the sports collection and the advertising sector.
1973 In Newport/Vermont, Bogner set up its American subsidiary “Bogner of America” with its own production facilities. Willy and his wife Sônia moved to America. Willy Bogner devoted himself to building up and managing the new company beside heading the creation of the ski collections. A complete collection of Bogner accessories, attuned to men’s and women’s sports fashion, made its debut. The collection comprised belts, bags, scarves, headwear, umbrellas and travelling accessories.
1974 Bogner launched their tennis fashion collection in Europe as well as on the U.S. market. The company Bogner-Sport AG was founded in Zurich, Switzerland.
1976 The branch plant in Eging, in Lower Bavaria started production. The first Bogner-Golf-Collection was presented, while a further Bogner-Shop was opened in the northern German city of Aachen. It was the first one of a chain of Bogner-Shops which showed the complete Bogner-collection.
1977 Willy Bogner senior died after prolonged, severe illness. The passing of this outstanding personality, prominent sportsman and intrepid entrepreneur was greatly mourned.
1978 This year marked the introduction of a new Bogner logo. The “Bogner-Arc” was conceived as a symbol expressing the synthesis of sports and fashion. “Bogner” has its semantic roots as “Bowmaker”. In Heimstetten, near Munich, Bogner establixhed a 12.000 square meter central dispatching center allowing the storage of 400.000 Bogner collection articles. Bogner launched a new plant near Seiboldsdorf in Upper Bavaria. The number of company employees rose to 1.300, while annual turnover passes 120 million DM. This year saw the opening of yet another Bogner-Shop in Hamburg.
1979 Back from America where the young couple had felt very much at home, Willy Bogner assumed the responsibility for the creative sector at the responsibility for the creative sector at the Munich headquarters and the general management. Bogner founded Bogner-Sports Ltd. on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Another Bogner-Shop was opened, this time in Munich’s classy Residenzstrasse, a prime shopping location.
1980 The new decade marked the advent of aerodynamics and high-tech and Willy Bogner, the former ski racer set high pace in introducing state of the art technology. From the design department to the manufacturing sector , extensive use was made of computer-based systems. Electronically controlled, company knitting machines produced highly refined pullovers displaying Jacquard and inlay patterns, as well as braid and plainted designs. Bogner has become firmly established as a synonym for high quality and therefore it comes as little surprise to discover that the Oxford dictionary of Synonyms lists “Bogner” as a synonym for ski pants. Willy Bogner’s wife Sônia, ex-photo model and Valentino assistant in Rome, assumed the responsibility for the women’s collection.
In 1983, a sunglasses line was created.
Meanwhile, the Bogner brand continues to roll out seasonal collections and even boasts its own cosmetics range for men and women (Debuted in 1985 and expanded fourteen years later.).
Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Martina Glagow, Georg Hettich, Georg Hackl, Anni Friesinger, Viola Bauer, Tobias Angerer, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield, Ingrid Bergmann