The Epic Fall of Guess Jeans And The Marciano Brothers

Source: Forbes

Technically, Guess went public in 1996. As far as control goes, though, it remains as much a family-run company–family-dominated, really–as when it was founded in 1981. Mercurial, obsessive and opinionated, Paul and his siblings, Maurice, Georges and Armand, erected a denim empire by imposing their will on everything: the jeans (tighter, lighter and more stylish), the marketing (the iconic and voluptuous Guess Girls, most notably Anna Nicole Smith, who turned a workman’s staple into a garment as seductive as lingerie) and, yes, even the glowing lettering in the headquarters…

That may ultimately be its undoing, according to numerous ex-employees and Wall Street analysts. “You need new management. Some new blood,” says Bridget Weishaar. “You need a new brand image. You need to be relevant to today’s youth.”

Story length: 2,258 words

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