Gucci is one of the most instantly recognizable fashion houses. The 2021 movie House of Gucci will star Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. There has never been a period in recent history when Gucci was not the pinnacle for excessive glamour. It wasn’t always like this. Luxury Italian brands were far from the red-carpet favorites of Harry Styles or Dakota Johnson before they became so popular.
You can now learn more about Gucci’s history if you are curious. Here, we’ll tell you the story of the iconic fashion house and some lesser-known facts.
Who founded Gucci?
Guccio Gucci established the famous fashion house Guccio Gucci, in Florence, Italy, in 1921. Rebag reported that Gucci was a porter for the Savoy Hotel in London before he started his label. Inspired by the luxurious guests of his London hotel, Gucci returned to Italy and worked for a luggage firm, Franzi. He then took up leatherworking before starting his own company. Gucci began by focusing on leather goods, primarily travel accessories, and eventually expanded into equestrian gear as the word of its brand spread to the ears and wallets of British aristocrats.
How did the brand expand?
Gucci’s three sons, Aldo Vasco, and Rodolfo, eventually began to work for the company, and its reputation grew. Women’s Wear Daily reports that they hit a bump in 1935. The embargo of the League of Nations against Italy meant that leather was in short supply, and Gucci was forced to use other materials. Gucci created a specially woven hemp Canada and printed the famous interlocking diamond logo.
What happened after World War II?
WWD reports that Aldo Gucci designed the first pigskin handbag for the brand after leather production resumed following World War II. Gucci’s bamboo-handled bag, shaped like a saddle, was the first to feature the material. It is believed that the bag was created around this time. Gucci’s famous green-red and green stripe was already a part of the brand by 1951.
In the 1950s, Gucci stores expanded rapidly. Rodolfo opened a new store in Milan in 1950 and expanded to the U.S. in 1952. In 1953, just before Guccio Gucci died, The Savoy Plaza Hotel opened a Gucci Store in New York City to pay tribute to his time as a porter. Only 15 days after the store opened, Guccio Gucci died at 71.
What influence did celebrities have on Gucci’s designs?
The brand’s success continued in the years after Gucci died, thanks to the sons. Celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor carried bamboo-handled bags, and in 1953, the Horsebit loafer was introduced with its iconic double bar and ring.
After Jacqueline Kennedy wore a Gucci handbag in 1961, the fashion house changed its name to ‘The Jackie.’ The famous double-G logo was created around the same time. It was initially used to secure bags.
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Grace Kelly also had an impact on Gucci’s designs. Rodolfo gifted her a custom-made floral scarf when she bought a bamboo handle bag in 1966. The pattern was an illustration commissioned by Vittorio Accornero and became known as the Flora print.
In the 1970s, Gucci opened more stores in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and New York City. Gucci’s debut fragrance, Gucci No., was released in 1975. 1.
What happened to the Gucci family in the 1980s?
Gucci’s first ready-to-wear fashion show was held in 1981. The collection was heavily based on the Flora pattern and took place in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.
Gucci went through several significant changes and dramas over the next few decades. Guccio’s grandchildren began working for the company in the early 1980s. The family feuded over who would control the business. Maurizio Rodolfo took control of the business, forcing his cousins and Uncle Aldo to leave.
In 1989, the holding company Investcorp acquired almost half of Gucci. Bergdorf Goodman brought on its President, Dawn Mello, and the head of Accessories, Richard Lambertson, to help boost Gucci.
When did Tom Ford take over at Gucci?
In 1990, a young designer with a lot of talent named Tom Ford came into the picture. He initially oversaw Gucci’s ready-to-wear collection but was appointed Creative Director of the fashion house in 1994. Maurizio Gucci then sold his remaining shares to Investcorp. In 1995, he was assassinated.
Ford has been credited with revitalizing Gucci by incorporating hypersexual designs into their campaigns and images. Ford’s sleek, minimalist Fall 1995 collection was a huge commercial success. Gwyneth, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna wore his pieces on the red carpet.
The iconic “Jackie” bag was relaunched in 1999 with some updates. It quickly became the must-have item of the year.
How did Gucci become part of Kering?
LVMH began buying shares in the company slowly, despite the objections of Gucci’s former CEO, Domenico De Sole, during the late 1990s. Francois Pinault of Pinault Printemps Redoute, or PPR, was the largest stakeholder before LVMH took control. PPR was renamed Kering in 2013, and Gucci is still a part.
Ford and its CEO Domenico De Sole, who had been at Gucci since 2004, left 2004 over contract disputes. Ford, however, brought Frida Giannini into the mix to help boost the accessories department. John Ray was appointed to oversee menswear following Ford’s departure. Alessandra Faccinetti took on womenswear. Giannini later became Creative Director for accessories.
How Did Gucci Change After Tom Ford?
After Tom Ford left, the company underwent a significant transformation. Business of Fashion noted that Giannini, appointed Creative Director in 2006, relaunched the Flora pattern instead of focusing solely on the double G logo, which proved to be a huge success.
David Lynch directed Gucci’s first-ever TV campaign in 2008 for its Gucci by Gucci fragrance. James Franco starred in the launch of Giannini’s first men’s fragrance, Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme. In 2009, Gucci launched the now-iconic Flora fragrance.
When Did Alessandro Michele Join Gucci?
Late in 2014, Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco abruptly announced their departure from the company. Alessandro Michele was announced as the company’s new Creative Director after he had spent 12 years with the brand. Many in the industry were shocked by the appointment of the accessories designer, who was relatively unknown. According to The New York Times, Michele’s first act as Creative Director was to design a brand new menswear line in less than one week. A month later, his first womenswear line debuted on the Milan runway and became an instant hit. Marco Bizzarri became the new Gucci president and CEO after Di Marco left.
What is happening now?
In the years after his appointment, Michele turned the luxury house into the printed, sequined, oversized-glasses-loving vision we know today. The company has pledged to reduce its environmental impact, including greenhouse gases, by 2025. Gucci relaunched its makeup line in 2019, Gucci Beauty. They also introduced their first unisex perfume, Memoire Une Odeur. Michele announced, most recently in May 2020, that Gucci will embrace seasonless fashion by abandoning the structure of Fashion Week. The company will also reduce the number of shows it puts on from five to only two per year.
Michele announced in November 2022 that he was stepping down as creative director.
In a press release, he stated, “there are times when our paths diverge because we each have different perspectives.” “Today, an extraordinary journey, lasting over twenty years within a company that I have dedicated my creative passion and love to, ends for me.”