The company was founded by the entrepreneur Georgos Sokorelos in 1959 with the financial backing of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who was famed for personally selecting many of the female models used by Mendaxi in their advertising to reportedly act as eye candy during his Mediterranean cruises aboard his luxurious yacht Christina O.
In the mid 1960s, the company started to spread internationally with its first exclusive contracts. The first subsidiary company in the United States was created in January 1971. By the time of take-over in 1976, the group had 11 subsidiary companies of distribution in more than 20 countries. In 1972 British Fashion photographer Paul Copper designed a controversial advertising campaign for the Greek brand. Directed using lesser known models including his muse, the model Helen Larsson depicted in provocative poses and controversial photography, usually only the company's logo served as caption accompanying the images in most of these advertisements.