For a century, Gucci has defined the world of fashion in a variety of ways making the company a fashion staple. Although there have been many controversies, Gucci continues to be a staple household name along with Louis Vuitton and Chanel. In honor of the movie starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and more coming out this month, we will take you through the history of this illustrious brand.
Journeying back to 1881, Guccio Gucci was born in Florence, Italy. His father was a leather craftsman, but he chose not to follow in his footsteps and decided to travel. During his life, Gucci ultimately ended up working as an attendant at The Savoy in London and finding inspiration from all of the luggages from travelers which kickstarted his future.
It wasn't until 1921 when Gucci returned to Florence that he created his Maison. From there he continued to create luggage pieces before he branched into wallets and equestrian products. In the late 1920's, he created the first version of the infamous GG we all know before his sons reinvented it again.
Continuing the Legacy & A Time of Turmoil
Gucci eventually included his sons, Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo into the family business leading it into new directions and increase in reputation. During this time we saw the inception of the Diamante canvas, reinvention of the signature GG print that is widely used to this day, and the introduction of Gucci's first pig-skin bags during World War II. By the 50's, the red and green Web detailing made its debut.
Under Rodolfo in the 1950's, Gucci stores increased. Not only expanding to Milan and to the United States, but also opening in The Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York City on behalf of Guccio's past of working with the hotel. This store opened only a few days prior to his death in 1953.
Things for the company ran smoothly up until the 80's when turmoil struck the Gucci family. With decades of accomplishments such as the introduction of the Flora print and their first ready-to-wear fashion show, there were also several changes done to the company and shifts in power.
With Guccio's grandchildren now working within the Maison, there was plenty of feuding over who would control the company. Soon enough, Maurizio, Rodolfo's son eventually took over and pushed the rest of the family out. This led to years of disarray that almost ruined the company, imprisonments of family members, and the eventual murder of Maurizio in 1995.
The House Rises Again
In the 90's, Gucci was going through a slump after Dawn Mello resigned and through the family feuding. It wasn't until 1994 when Tom Ford took over as Creative Director that changes were made to the company and the popularity began to grow again. Embracing the idea of "Sex Sells," Ford took a direction of the more risque and scandalous with his designs and marketing, making the brand more "sexy" and under Ford's thumb, the company soared for years until he left in 2004 and then Frida Giannini took over.
Frida Giannini's take over as Creative Director started with her time as Design Director at Gucci. She sought to change Ford's designs and to focus on Gucci's heritage within her style, bringing back tokens of the past which continued into her tenure there.
Celebrities & Breaking Barriers
Gucci has a longstanding relationship with celebrities and their inspiration on their products. Memorable figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Princess Diana, and Jackie Kennedy are just to name a few while we also saw collaborations with the rapper Dapper Dan and graffiti artist, Trevor Andrews. Their influence on designs continue even as the years pass by.
To this day, Gucci has actually become a token favorite of the younger generations due to Alessandro Michele's takeover in 2015 as creative director. With a large resurgence in the pop world with celebrities such as Harry Styles and K-Pop idols to collaborations with Disney, Doraemon, North Face, and Balenciaga, Gucci has seen a large jump in sales over the past years. This incorporation of pop stars, pop culture, and embracing emerging ideals into their advertising, designs, and ambassadorships has set Gucci into a new direction.
With a much more open atmosphere and the acceptance of unisex style, Gucci's embrace of these ideals has skyrocketed their popularity, with a broad range of clothing and handbags they are not strangers to anyone on the gender spectrum.
The Past in Present
Not only does the Italian fashion house embrace nonconformity, the brand makes sure to never lose the ideals and style of the past, incorporating them into their designs. We have seen recently reinvented designs of classic bags such as one of Princess Diana's go-tos. This summer Gucci released the Diana bag as an homage to her favorite style, gifting it a new trending twist. Also as of 2021, with the impending release of the movie, the Jackie purse has made its comeback due to bags being used by Lady Gaga's character in the trailers.
With Michele at the helm we have seen many changes these past few years. The company has made more sustainability efforts, changed their fashion show structure, and embraced the differences in people and fashion. With a longstanding history, there is plenty to look forward to in Gucci's future.