GUCCI HAS ALWAYS HAD A CLEAR FOCUS: ITALIAN EXCELLENCE. A WELL-TRAVELLED BRAND TAKING INSPIRATION FROM STORIES AND CULTURES ALL OVER THE WORLD, THIS FAMILY RUN BUSINESS HAS EVOLVED INTO ONE OF THE LUXURY GIANTS. WHILST THE COLLECTIONS DESIGNS ARE FIRMLY ROOTED IN ARTISAN TECHNIQUES AND HIGH QUALITY FABRICS, THESE ELEMENTS CONTINUE TO TRANSFORM SEASON AFTER SEASON, CREATING A JUXTAPOSITION OF MODERN VINTAGE TO BE TREASURED FOR SEASONS TO COME.
With offices all over the world, Gucci has chosen to keep its design headquarters in Florence, the city where it all began. Today, the brand is part of the Kering group, bringing their signature designs to a global audience. Whilst its journey may take many detours and be reinterpreted differently in various countries, the heart of the company remains the same, standing for timeless elegance and an appreciation of the finer things in life.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Taking inspiration from English nobility, Gucci began with a small collection of leather goods in a Florentine, family run boutique. The founder, Guccio Gucci wanted to bring the refined aesthetic that he had seen in England to his native homeland, mixing it with the artisan craftsmanship of local Tuscan artisans. The boutique soon began to build a name for itself, attracting a wide selection of international clientele that visited the store on holiday, as well as local Italian aristocrats.
However, the start of the Second World War brought with it imposed shipping restrictions in Italy, meaning that the brand had to work with new resources that were readily available. After experimentation with hemp, linen and jute, the saddle-shaped bamboo bag was born, creating a signature accessory that would later transform and evolve throughout the decades. The red, green and red stripes emerged in the fifties, taking inspiration from equestrian style. The style became an instant success amongst the growing fan base, extending to celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Liz Taylor and Peter Sellers. International acclaim allowed Gucci to rapidly expand with branded boutiques in Milan and New York, establishing its presence as a luxury status symbol.
A boom in innovative constructions and fabrics saw a rise in the use of rare textiles throughout the sixties, such as baby crocodile skins and sterling silver snakehead detailing. During this period, the famous GG logo was created, remaining one of the brand’s trademarks. With sleek accessories and a strong focus on intricate detailing, the brand is also internationally recognised as a world leader in fashion design, with select items featuring in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
As time passed, the fashion press began to consider Gucci’s original designs as vintage, encouraging them to develop each iconic element for a new audience. The younger generation discovered the Flora pattern, the Bamboo bag and the Jackie bag for the first time, breathing life into the brand. Tom Ford was appointed Creative Director in 1994, beginning a period of transition within the company. Gucci returned to its roots, relocating the headquarters back to Florence as opposed to being stationed in the fashion capital Milan. The commercial group PPR also acquired the brand at this time. The partnership continued to build on its international foundations without losing the Italian touch that it is famous for.
Today, Gucci continues to explore the key brand pillars that span over ninety years of history, exploring exclusivity, quality, Italian craftsmanship and fashion authority. The long-term link with the jet-setting community sets the company apart from its competitors, taking inspiration from different cultures around the world. Over her reign as creative director, Frida Giannini used her collections to tell a romantic Italian story, showcasing the best that the brand could offer with signature pieces and contemporary twists. Today, the designs are lead by Alessandro Michele, starting a new chapter in Gucci’s story.
Gucci is most famous for its “must-have” pieces using extraordinary materials, such as the Bamboo bag. Other signature elements include the interlocking GG logo and the monochromatic logo print on a tan background – both of which have been used across a variety of products.
The brand has always focused on leather goods teamed with artisan skills, so it is the quality associated with these staple “Made in Italy” items that really set it apart from its competitors. Elegant and minimal with a touch of flora and fauna, Gucci presents a delicate design mix that is always in style.
Guccio Gucci launches his business, opening the first Gucci boutique on Via Vigna Nuova in Florence, followed by Via del Parione in the same city. The company specialises in handcrafted leather goods, such as handbags and trunks.
The embargo on the movement of textiles forces Gucci to source new fabrics, working with hemp and canvas instead of leather. The interconnecting diamond signature print is developed in this period, printing dark brown motifs across a tan background. The first Bamboo bag is also produced at this time. In 1938, the brand opens its first boutique in Rome.
Gucci resumes to produce leather goods after the Second World War. The years that follow are particularly prosperous for the company, and the first American boutique is inaugurated in 1953 at the Savoy Plaza Hotel on East 58th Street, New York. Guccio Gucci dies a few days later, leaving his business to his sons.
The company enjoys international success, catering for a wide range of jet-setting style icons, from Brigitte Bardot to Jackie Kennedy. In 1966, the Flora scarf print is designed for Princess Grace of Monaco, becoming an iconic and exclusive pattern that reflected the bohemian era.
The first fragrance launches, taking advantage of the company’s growing commercial success. In 1981, Gucci holds its first ready-to-wear fashion show in Florence at the Sala Bianca, showcasing its signature Flora print. A few years later, the classic loafer shoe is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as an example of excellence in design.
Investcorp purchases 50 per cent of Gucci shares, encouraging the president of Bergdorf Goodman to refresh the brand image, appointing Richard Lambertson as design director. A year later, American designer Tom Ford takes over the role of head of womenswear, rising to take the role of creative director in 1994.
The Gucci “it-bag” is born, as the brand re-launches the classic Jackie bag in various colours. PPR becomes the part company, choosing to add Gucci to its growing portfolio of luxury brands. Three years later, Frida Giannini joins the label’s accessories department, breathing new life into classic pattern combinations before becoming creative director in 2005.
The New Bamboo bag is released: a sporty version of the classic icon. The same year, the company reveals it’s new website and e-commerce platform, as well as Gucci Playground – the first luxury app for iPad dedicated to the childrenswear collections. Over the past few years, the brand has also utilised its strong following to give back to the community, investing in CSR projects such as “Chime for change”.
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