Italian fashion and leather goods brand
For other uses, see Gucci (disambiguation).
Gucci (, GOO-chee; Italian pronunciation: [ˈɡuttʃi]) is an Italian luxuryfashion house based in Florence, Italy. Its product lines include handbags, ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories, makeup, fragrances, and home decoration.
Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany. Under the direction of Aldo Gucci (son of Guccio), Gucci became a worldwide-known brand, an icon of the Italian Dolce Vita. Following family feuds during the 1980s, the Gucci family was entirely ousted from the capital of the company by 1993. After this crisis, the brand was revived with a provocative 'Porno Chic' props. In 1999, Gucci was acquired by the French conglomerate Pinault Printemps Redoute, which later became Kering. During the 2010s, Gucci became an iconic 'geek-chic' brand.
In 2019, Gucci operated 487 stores for 17,157 employees, and generated €9.628 billion in sales (€8.2 billion in 2018).Marco Bizzarri is CEO of Gucci since December 2014, and Alessandro Michele creative director since January 2015. Gucci is a subsidiary of the French luxury group Kering.
1921 birth in Florence
See also: Guccio Gucci
The Gucci family claims its origins are rooted in the merchant city of Florence since around 1410. Guccio Giovanbattista Giacinto Dario Maria Gucci (1881–1953) left Florence for Paris, and settled in London in 1897 to work at the high-end Savoy Hotel. While working as a bellhop there, he would load/unload the luggage of the hotel's wealthy clients, learning about their tastes in fashion, quality, fabrics, traveling conditions... Then he worked 4 years for the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, the European rail company that specialized in upscale travel leisure, thus further enhancing his experience with luxurious traveling lifestyles. After WWI, he worked for the maker of fine luggage Franzi.
In 1921, Guccio Gucci bought his own shop on 7, Via della Vigna Nuova in Florence, Azienda Individuale Guccio Gucci, where he sold imported leather luggage. He also opened a small workshop to have his own leather goods made by local craftsmen. Eventually, a larger workshop had to be acquired to house Gucci's 60 artisans. In 1935 the invasion of Ethiopia by Mussolini led the League of Nations to impose a trade embargo on Italy. Leather became scarce, pushing Guccio Gucci to introduce other fabrics in the composition of the products, such as raffia, wicker, wood, linen and, jute. The rombi motif, a Gucci signature, was created. The Gucci's developed a new tanning technique to produce "cuoio grasso", which became a Gucci trademark. In 1937, Gucci launched its handbags.
Guccio's wife and children all worked in the shop. Aldo, the son of Guccio, became increasingly involved in the family company since he started working there in 1925. He convinced his father to grow by opening a new shop in Rome (21 Via Condotti) in 1938, and launched more Gucci accessories (gloves, belts, wallets, keychains). During WWII, the artisans of Gucci worked on making boots for the Italian infantry.
The company made handbags of cotton canvas rather than leather during World War II as a result of material shortages. The canvas, however, was distinguished by a signature double-G symbol combined with prominent red and green bands. After the war, the Gucci crest, which showed a shield and armored knight surrounded by a ribbon inscribed with the family name, became synonymous with the city of Florence.
Post-war Dolce Vita
See also: Aldo Gucci and Maurizio D'Ancora
After the war, Guccio Gucci distributed the shares of the company to his three sons (Aldo, Vasco, Rodolfo). In 1947, Gucci launched the Bamboo bag. The brand launched its first global tagline, Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. The iconic moccasins (Gucci loafer) were launched in 1952. Guccio Gucci died on 2 January 1953 in Milan. In November 1953, Gucci opened its first US store on 5th Avenue and 58th Street in New York. A second NY shop opened in the Saint Regis Hotel in 1960, and a third on 5th Avenue and 54th Street in 1973, leading the locals to call this NY area "Gucci City".
In 1961, Gucci opened a store in London and Palm Beach, and launched the Jackie Bag. In March 1963, Gucci opened its first French store near Place Vendôme in Paris. The double-G logo for belt buckles and other accessory decorations was introduced in 1964. The Flora scarf was designed in 1966 by Rodolfo Gucci and Vittorio Accornero for Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco who became a notorious consumer of Gucci products. In October 1968, Gucci opened a store on 347 Rodeo Drive, driving many Hollywood stars to endorse the brand. With the Rodeo Drive opening came the launch of Gucci's first dresses. Gucci's breakthrough in the US led to its global development in Asia (Tokyo opening in 1972, Hong Kong in 1974) and the Middle East. In Brussels, Aldo's son Roberto piloted the first Gucci franchised store. By 1969, Gucci managed 10 shops in the US. 84,000 Gucci moccasins were sold in the US alone that year. The US President John F. Kennedy called Aldo Gucci the "first Italian ambassador to the United States".
Gucci launched a Rolls-Royce luggage set in 1970 and partnered with American Motors Corporation (AMC) to create the Gucci version of the AMC Hornet (1971, 1972, 1973). Gucci became one of the first American cars to offer a special luxury trim package created by a famous fashion designer. Gucci launched Gucci Perfumes (Il Mio Profumo) and its first watch (Model 2000) in 1972, its first franchised store in the US in 1973, and opened the Gucci Galleria in its Beverly Hills store in 1977, a private art gallery adjoined to the store and reserved to premium clients who were given a golden key to access it. From 1978 to 1984 a Miami-based coachbuilder marketed a Gucci edition of the Cadillac Seville sedan (the 1978 model is exhibited at the Gucci Museum).
In 1985, the Gucci loafer became part of the permanent collection of the New York Moma.
1980s Gucci's family feud
See also: Maurizio Gucci
In 1969, Giorgio, the son of Aldo, had sparked the first family feud by launching Gucci Boutique on his own, which was finally reabsorbed by the family group in 1972. During the 1980s, the Gucci saga eroded the family-held top management of the company and fed the press headlines. Paolo Gucci, son of Aldo, tried to launch the brand Gucci Plus on his own. Aldo was criticized for developing most of the international business under Gucci America which he owned. In 1982, to ease tensions in the family, the Gucci group was consolidated and became a publicly-traded company, Guccio Gucci SpA. In May 1983, Rodolfo died. His son Maurizio Gucci inherited his father's majority stake in the company and launched a legal war against his uncle Aldo for full control of Gucci (a prosecution led by the city prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, and with Domenico de Sole representing the Gucci family).Maurizio Gucci took over the company's direction. In 1986, Aldo Gucci, 81, with only 16.7% of Gucci left in his possession, was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion (in a prison where Albert Nipon was also an inmate). The artwork of the Gucci Galleria was liquidated. In 1988, Maurizio Gucci sold almost 47.8% of Gucci to the Bahrain-based investment fund Investcorp (owner of Tiffany since 1984), and withheld the other 50%.
From 1991 to 1993, Gucci's finances were still in the red, Maurizio Gucci was blamed for spending extravagant amounts of money on the company's headquarters in Florence (Via delle Caldaie palazzo) and in Milan. Investcorp bought the remaining 50% of Guccio Gucci S.p.A. from Maurizio Gucci in 1993, ending the family involvement in the group. In March 1995, Maurizio Gucci was shot dead in the lobby of Gucci's Milan office. His ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani served 16 years in jail for hiring the hitman of the murder.
Despite the family disputes, between 1981 and 1987, the sales of trademarked Gucci products reached $400 million, and $227 million in 1990 alone. The 1980s were characterized by a mass-production of Gucci products, which generated revenue but negatively affected Gucci's position as an exclusive luxury brand. Maurizio Gucci hired Dawn Mello to put Gucci back on tracks.
Porno Chic Revival
See also: Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole
Dawn Mello was hired in November 1989 as Gucci's executive vice president and chief designer. She reduced the number of stores from +1,000 to 180 in a move to rebuild the brand's exclusivity. She also reduced the number of items sold by Gucci from 22,000 to 7,000. She revived the Bamboo bag and the Gucci loafer. She moved Gucci's headquarters back from Milan to Florence, where the history of Gucci is deeply rooted.
Dawn Mello hired Tom Ford to oversee the women's ready-to-wear collection. In 1994, Tom Ford was named creative director of Gucci. Ford and Mellow revisited the 1970s archives of the brand. Ford's 1995 collection, which included the sensual white dresses with provocative cut-outs, became an instant hit. Revived through the hot-bod hedonism of Tom Ford's creations, Gucci also launched provocative products in limited edition such as silver handcuffs, a G-string and provocative ad campaigns such as the G logo shaved on pubic hair.
Domenico De Sole, legal adviser to the Gucci family since the 1980s and CEO of Gucci since 1994, campaigned for Gucci's leather manufacturers in Italy to keep working together and developed a partners' program to strengthen their ties. He reviewed the pricing of each product and gradually raised Gucci's advertising budget from $6 million in 1993 to $70 million in 1997. In October 1995, the company was publicly indexed on the New York Stock Exchange with an initial stock value set at US$22. Then, from 1995 to 1997, Investcorp sold its interests in Gucci for around US$1.9 billion.
LVMH-PPR struggle over Gucci
By January 1999, the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, which had been buying shares of Gucci discreetly since 1995, reached 34% ownership in Gucci Group NV. Seeking a way out of LVMH's control, Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole turned to the French financier François Pinault and his group Pinault Printemps Redoute, which later became Kering, for an emergency exit. In March, Pinault's group bought out 40% of Gucci at $75 a share, and LVMH's shares decreased to 20.7% in a dilution process. Through the deal, PPR also purchased Yves Saint Laurent from Sanofi and sold it back for the same price to the Gucci Group. This coup d'éclat in the fashion world launched a cold war between LVMH and the new Gucci-PPR coalition. A tension occurred in December 2000 when Gucci bought 51% of Alexander McQueen's couture house, as McQueen was also the creative designer of LVMH's Givenchy at that time. The feud around Gucci ended in September 2001 when all parties reached an agreement. By the end of 2003, Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole made it official that they would not renew their contract with Gucci-PPR that ended in April 2004.
Following Ford's departure, Gucci Group retained three designers to continue the success of the company's flagship label: John Ray, Alessandra Facchinetti and Frida Giannini, all of whom had worked under Ford's creative direction. Facchinetti was elevated to Creative Director of Women's wear in 2004 and designed for two seasons before leaving the company. Ray served as Creative Director of Menswear for three years. Frida Giannini – a Gucci handbag designer since 2002, head of accessories since 2004, and creative director of women's ready-to-wear and accessories since 2005 – was appointed creative director of Gucci in 2006.Patrizio di Marco, formerly CEO of Bottega Veneta, was named CEO of Gucci in 2008. Both acclaimed and criticized for perpetually revisiting Tom Ford's archives, Frida Giannini eventually toned down Ford's explosive 'Porno Chic' props over the years "from sexy to sensual", and started to experiment with 'androgynous Bohemian' styles with a 19th-century reminiscence. She also developed "neo-classics" such as the New Bamboo and the New Jackie handbags. Patrizio di Marco focused on the post-2008 crisis with fewer styles and more midrange products. In 2010, Gucci launched a partnership with the auction house Christie's to develop a wider repository of the brand's archives and provide an authenticity certification service. In 2011, the company opened the Gucci Museum (Gucci Museo) in Florence to celebrate its 90th anniversary. Between 2010 and 2015, 220 new Gucci stores opened, bringing the total store count to 500.
See also: Marco Bizzarri and Alessandro Michele
In December 2014, Marco Bizzarri, former CEO of Bottega Veneta, was named CEO of Gucci. He was tasked to reverse Gucci's declining sales by giving a new impetus to the brand. In January 2015, Bizzarri appointed Alessandro Michele creative director of Gucci. Alessandro Michele had been working for Gucci since 2002 and served as Frida Giannini's deputy and head accessories designer. During the Fall show of February 2015, Alessandro Michele introduced "a different Gucci", one with a "sophisticated, intellectual and androgynous feel".
Alessandro Michele launched the Renaissance of Gucci. He revived Gucci classics like the double-G logo, the Jackie O. bag, and created iconic products such as the Dionysus handbag. With a feminized menswear, a strong feminist stance and a 'geek-chic' style, Alessandro Michele introduced a postgender props for Gucci.
In September 2016, Gucci inaugurated the Gucci Hub, its new Milan headquarters built in the former Caproni aeronautical factory. In July 2017, Gucci announced the launch of Gucci Décor, the first time the brand tested itself in the home decoration segment. In April 2018, Gucci inaugurated the ArtLab, a 37,000-square-metre center of innovation outside of Florence in Italy, where new leather goods, footwear, new materials, metal hardware and packaging are developed and tested. In November 2018, Gucci opened the Gucci Wooster Bookstore in New York, a 2,000-book shop curated by the founder of Dashwood Books David Strettell. In April 2019, the company launched Gucci 9, a 500-employee network of 6 call centers worldwide for high-end customer service. Gucci also revived its makeup collection and launched its first fine jewelry collection.
In 2019, Gucci's sales reached 9.6 billion euros.
In December 2020, following an agreement between Kering and Alibaba, Gucci launched two stores (fashion and beauty) on Tmall.
Gucci's holding company Guccio Gucci S.p.A. is based in Florence, Italy, and is a subsidiary of the French luxury group Kering. In 2018, Gucci operated 540 stores for 14,628 employees. The company generated €9.628 billion in revenue (€8.2 billion in 2018), and €3,947 billion in profits (€3.2 billion in 2018).
In the history of Gucci, up until the end of the Gucci family era, the design, promotion and production of Gucci products were handled by the members of the Gucci family.
- Creative designers
In 2011, the company opened the Gucci Museum (Gucci Museo) inside the 14th-century Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence to celebrate its 90th anniversary. In 2016, Alessandro Michele curated two additional rooms dedicated to Tom Ford's collections. In January 2018, following a renovation, the Gucci Museum reopened with a new name, the Gucci Garden, and a new restaurant within its walls, the Gucci Osteria, managed by Massimo Bottura. The Gucci Osteria was awarded one Michelin star in November 2019. In February 2020, a second Gucci Osteria opened on the rooftop of the Gucci Rodeo Drive store in Los Angeles.
In April 2017, Gucci financed the restoration of the Boboli Gardens at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. In June 2019, Gucci financed the restoration of the historic Rupe Tarpea and Belvedere Gardens in Rome.
In 2008, Gucci launched the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, an $80,000 fund to finance movies promoting social change and presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. By 2011, the fund grew to $150,000, including $50,000 for a newly created Women Documentary Award. In 2011, with the Venice Film Festival, Gucci also launched the 'Gucci Award for Women in Cinema' to underline the impact of women in film-making.
From 2005 to 2015, Gucci donated $20 million to UNICEF's Schools for Africa program. Once Chime for Change was created, it became the funding vehicle of the Gucci-UNICEF partnership. Chime for Change was founded in February 2013 by Frida Giannini, Salma Hayek and Beyoncé as a global campaign for the improvement of education, health and justice for women worldwide. In June 2013, Chime for Change organized the Sound of Change Live concert which generated $4 million to fund 200 projects in 70 countries. In December 2013, Gucci inked a partnership with Twitter and Women Who Code to create the women-focused hackathon Chime Hack.
Gucci sells a yellow t-shirt that reads "My Body My Choice" and redistributes its proceeds to Chime for Change. In July 2013, activist Lydia Emily was commissioned to paint a mural on Skid Row, Los Angeles of a woman named Jessica, who is a survivor of human trafficking. In January 2019, Chime for Change launched the murals campaign "To Gather Together" promoting gender equality and designed by the artist MP5. In 2020, Gucci launched an "Unconventional Beauty" ad campaign, including a model with Down syndrome.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gucci pledged €2 million to two crowdfunding campaigns, the first to support the Italian Civil Protection Department, and the second for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
In 2015, Gucci launched its own environmental profit and loss initiative. In October 2017, Gucci announced it would ban furs from its stores in 2018. In June 2018, the brand launched 'Equilibrium', its platform to communicate on its social and environmental efforts and progress. In September 2019, Marco Bizzarri announced Gucci's intention to go entirely carbon neutral. In 2020, Gucci joined the UNDP-led Lion's Share Fund to support wildlife conservation.
In popular culture
The name "Gucci" turned into an eponymous adjective, "I feel Gucci!" and "That’s so Gucci!", to describe something that feels like the high-flying luxury of Gucci.
The earliest known instance of the word being used in this sense is found in the September 1999 issue of Harper's Bazaar, in which singer Lenny Kravitz describes his bedroom as "very Gucci."
In November 2019, filmmaker Ridley Scott announced House of Gucci, a movie about the Gucci dynasty with Lady Gaga playing Patrizia Reggiani and Adam Driver playing Maurizio Gucci; the film is scheduled to be released in the United States on November 24, 2021. Scott had already announced this plan in 2007 with Angelina Jolie in the role of Patrizia Reggiani. In 2000, Martin Scorsese had also announced plans to make a movie about the Gucci family.
Guinness World Records
- 1974: The Model 2000 Gucci watch broke the record for selling more than one million units in two years.
- 1998: The Gucci "Genius Jeans" broke the record of the most expensive pair of jeans ever. These jeans were distressed, ripped, and covered with African beads, and were for sale for US$3,134 in Milan.
During the 1970s, the explosive popularity of Gucci turned the brand into a prime target of the counterfeiting industry. The Gucci workshops elaborated the brindle pigskin tanning technique that became a Gucci signature, and a tanning process difficult to counterfeit. In 1977 alone, Gucci launched 34 lawsuits for counterfeiting. By the mid-1980s, the brand was involved in "thousands of confiscations and lawsuits all over the world".
On 5 November 2013, the UK's Intellectual Property Office issued a ruling that Gucci had lost the rights to its GG trademark in the UK "to a version of the GG logo in four categories, which encompassed garments such as bracelets, shoulder bags, scarves and coats". However, "according to Gucci, the ruling does not affect the use of its GG logo in the region" because "Gucci is the owner of several other valid registrations for this mark, including a Community Trade Mark (covering the European Union) for its iconic GG logo and those rights are directly enforceable in the U.K."
In November 2008, the website TheBagAddiction.com was shut down after being sued by Gucci for selling counterfeit products. In 2013, Gucci cracked down on 155 domain names used by counterfeiters to sell fake Gucci products. In 2015, Gucci's parent company Kering sued the Chinese website Alibaba for listing a lot of "obviously fake Gucci products" on its website. In April 2016, Gucci's anti-counterfeiting legal actions backfired when the targeted products were the papier-mâché shaped exactly like Gucci products and burned by Chinese people during the ancestral Qingming Jie tradition. In April 2017, Gucci won a lawsuit against 89 Chinese websites selling fake Gucci products. In October 2018, Marco Bizzarri warned the Chinese ecommerce giants Alibaba and JD.com that Gucci could not open shop on their websites as long as they would not remove the many fake Gucci products out of their listings. In December 2019, Gucci sued three dozen websites selling fake Gucci products.
In April 2016, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority banned a Gucci online video ad because it starred an "unhealthily thin" model.
In February 2019, Gucci removed a black balaclava sweater with a rollup collar and a cut-out red-lipped mouth from its shelves after it had been compared to a blackface costume. Alessandro Michele responded that his inspiration came from the flamboyant Leigh Bowery but apologized for the way it had been interpreted. To address this issue, Gucci launched the 'Gucci North America Changemakers Scholarship' program dedicated to foster diversity within the fashion industry with a $5-million annual fund to support non-profits and community-based programs involved with "the African-American community and communities of color at-large". In May 2019, the Sikhs community in India criticized Gucci's cultural appropriation of a religious item when the Italian brand commercialized turbans at $800 apiece. In July 2019, Gucci appointed a Global Head of Diversity to address the brand's latest issues with cultural diversity. In October 2019, Gucci launched a $1.5-million scholarship program for US students traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry.
In May 2019, Kering agreed to pay a $1.25-billion tax settlement with the Italian fiscal authorities following Gucci's tax irregularities during the 2011-2017 fiscal period.
During a September 2019 show that resembled a défilé of mental patients, catwalk model Ayesha Tan Jones held up their hands on which "mental health is not fashion" was written, a reaction to the brand's inappropriate commercial use of the imagery of mental illness.
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- ^"Lydia Emily Paints for Chime For Change". Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
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- ^Sarah Young, Gucci’s blackface scandal: Creative director breaks silence over controversial jumper, Independent.co.uk, 13 February 2019
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When the name Gucci comes to mind, most fashionphiles conjure the image of excess that Alessandro Michele has dreamed up in the last few years. Or perhaps they think of Tom Ford’s scandalous silhouettes and shocking ad campaigns. But long before marquee designers were running the show at Gucci, the fashion house got its start as a humble leather shop.
Born on March 26, 1881 to a simple Italian leather goods maker, Guccio Gucci was a porter at the Savoy hotel in London when he first became enamored with the glamorous suitcases that the guests arrived with from all over the globe. Paying homage to his familiar roots, he eventually returned to his native Florence to work for Franzi, a tony luggage brand. Years later, Gucci was ready to strike out on his own, and in 1921 he opened his own eponymous leather goods store in Florence.
In the beginning, Gucci’s main business was making saddles and other accessories for horseback riders, always crafted from the finest of Italian leathers. His designs continued to gain popularity as he expanded further into the world of accessories, with English aristocrats becoming major fans of the up-and-coming label. Even today this equestrian flair can be see in Gucci’s modern creations, including the beloved horse-bit detail, and the red and green woven stripe, inspired by saddle details.
Guccio enlisted his three sons—Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo—to join the business in 1938, and they were tasked with expanding the brand’s presence, bringing Gucci to Rome and eventually Milan, in later years.
Leather was hard to come by in the mid-1930s, because of sanctions against Italy, so Gucci began experimenting with alternative textiles. This led to the very first signature Gucci print: small interconnected diamonds in dark brown, woven into a tan hemp fabric. The iconic Bamboo Bag was born under similar circumstances in 1947; Gucci artisans were scrambling to find materials towards the end of World War II and discovered that they could use Japanese bamboo to craft unique bag handles. Treated with a unique and patented method, these burnished bamboo handles became synonymous with Gucci.
In 1953, just 15 days after Gucci’s first New York boutique opened its doors, Guccio passed away. But despite Guccio's untimely death, his brand continued to flourish and the Gucci's arrival in the U.S. was embraced by American consumers. The decade that followed was a golden era for Gucci, thanks to celebrities who began proudly sporting its designs.
There was Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Sellers, who were both fans of unisex Gucci totes. Jackie Kennedy carried a slouchy Gucci purse in public and the bag was swiftly—and officially—renamed “The Jackie.” Grace Kelly stopped into a Gucci store to pick up a Bamboo Bag and as a token of his gratitude, Rodolfo Gucci asked Italian illustrator, Vittorio Accornero, to design a floral scarf for the beloved princess of Monaco. The resulting print became known as Flora, a Gucci signature that features 43 types of flowers, plants and insects, depicted through a vivid array of 37 colors. The logo of two interlocking G’s was also introduced around this time, as a sweet homage to founder, Guccio Gucci.
In the ‘70s, Gucci looked to the East, putting down roots in Tokyo and then Hong Kong, but the golden era seemed to be over. The Gucci brothers were constantly fighting—even though the brand debuted their first ready-to-wear collection in 1981. At that point, Rodolfo’s son, Aritzio, had taken over and ousted his uncle Aldo—while bringing the house close to bankruptcy.
But it was time to revive Gucci and that began with the appointment of Dawn Mello as creative director. The former president of Bergdorf Goodman joined the house in 1989 and brought with her a major team: Richard Lambertson as design director, Neil Barrett designing menswear and Tom Ford as the women’s ready-to-wear designer. Under Mello’s charge, the original Gucci loafer was reintroduced in a rainbow of colors to much fanfare. Sadly, much of the other designs were not well-received, and Mello returned to her cushy role at Bergdorfs in 1994.
In fact, it’s Tom Ford that has been celebrated as Gucci’s actual savior—and rightly so. When he became Gucci’s creative director in the wake of Mello’s departure, the designer infused the brand with an overt sex appeal that at the time couldn’t be found on any other runway. The slinky slip dresses and sexy stilettos stood in stark contrast to the minimalist trend of the ‘90s and were totally embraced by consumers.
As his star rose, Ford brought with him the next generation of fashion masterminds, including Carine as his go-to stylist and Mario Testino as his preferred photographer. Together, the trio revolutionized high fashion advertising with plenty of scandalous and skin-baring images. Perhaps most famously, one ad showed a nearly-nude Carmen Kass showing a male model the “G” she had shaved into her pubic hair. During Ford’s tenure, the term “sex sells” was taken quite literally; Gucci’s boost in sales turned it into a $10 billion fashion superstar.
But following a tussle with Pinault Printemps Redoute (the agency that purchased Gucci in 2004), Ford decided it was time to move on. And in what feels like a forgotten era in Gucci’s timeline, Alessandra Facchinetti stepped in to take charge of the women’s collections. She lasted only two unremarkable seasons before leaving the brand in 2005.
Her vacancy left room for Frida Giannini to step into the spotlight. She had been with Gucci since 2002, when she was hired at the ripe age of 24 to become the director of handbags—a sector that was a huge cash cow for Gucci. She was eventually promoted to oversee the entire accessories category and Giannini’s massive success there primed her for the top job.
During her tenure at Gucci, Giannini abandoned Ford’s fixation on sex appeal, instead turning her focus towards the distinct house codes. She seemed to be in constant revival mode, revamping the iconic Flora print, putting her signature on the red and green stripe and refreshing the Bamboo Bag.
There was a bit of drama during Giannini’s time. In 2011 she disclosed that she had been secretly involved in a two-year relationship with Gucci’s CEO at the time Patrizio di Marco—this came after plenty of juicy speculation surrounding their rumored relationship. In 2013, the partners welcomed a daughter, Greta, and eventually got married two years later.
Giannini’s time at Gucci was immortalized in The Director, a documentary that followed Giannini around for 18 months. In fact, Alessandro Michele can be spotted in the film, working as an associate director alongside his predecessor—though he is nearly camouflaged in a low-key black suit. Giannini’s approach kept fans and critics interested for a while. But her collections eventually became mundane, so amid waning sales and lackluster reviews, she was laid off. A few days later, di Marco was also ousted.
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When Gucci announced that Michele would be taking over in 2015, it seemed as if he had been plucked from obscurity for such an important role. However, he had been working with the company for over 12 years and was ready to jump right in. For his first big move, Michele tossed Giannini’s final men’s collection and completely redesigned it just five days before the creations were seen on the Fall/Winter 2015 runway. One month later, his first womenswear collection bowed on the Milan runway and was instantly dubbed a smash success.
After his appointment, Ford said of Michele: “He was a great handbag designer when he worked with me.” Michele has continued to live up to that reputation but has made his mark far beyond just great purses.
In the four years since stepping up as creative director, Michele has turned Gucci into a maximalist dream with collections that seem to seep from his imagination onto an intricately designed runway. With crystals, ruffles, vibrant color schemes, baby dragons and fake heads, plus endless pop culture references and an innate understanding of social consciousness, Michele has returned Gucci to the “it” status it held under Ford.
In fact, while in a state of forward-thinking and constant creation, Michele has still found a monumental way to pay homage to the brand’s storied past. Under his direction, Gucci Garden was created in Florence’s historic Palazzo della Mercanzia in 2018. Alongside Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, a restaurant bedecked entirely in the brand’s wares and a boutique, is a museum that traces Gucci back to its beginning. Seen through Michele’s ornamented lens (and curated by Maria Luisa Frisa) the rich history of this Italian brand melds with the present, offering solid proof that there’s plenty more history to be written at Gucci.
Tracing the evolution of Gucci
Today would’ve been Gucci founder Guccio Gucci’s 137th birthday.
[T]oday would’ve been Gucci founder Guccio Gucci’s 137th birthday. The brand that he started in a small shop in Florence in 1921 selling luggage to horsemen is in its 95th year is now the ultimate fashion powerhouse, with its creative direction managed by the mercurial and preternaturally talented Alessandro Michele. Over the past century Gucci has established itself as a fashion focal point, from the creation of the iconic loafer in the 1950s, to Tom Ford’s majestic reign in the mid-90s and now to Alessandro Michele’s bohemian geek-chic, here are some of the highlights.
1953 – The Gucci Loafer
The classic Gucci loafer made its first appearance in 1953, when the brand was known predominantly for its leather goods. Partly in homage to Guccio Gucci and to the brand’s heritage and partly due to the shoe’s immense popularity, it continues to be a mainstay of Gucci collections to this day.
1964 – Aldo and Rodolfo Gucci introduce the “double-G” logo
The now iconic Gucci logo was introduced by Guccio Gucci’s sons Adolfo and Rodolfo who took over the business after their father’s death in 1953 and has been a key motif in the brand’s designs (and occasionally questionable tattoos) ever since.
The Tom Ford Revolution 1990-2004
Tom Ford was hired by Gucci in 1990 as part of a brand overhaul after a turbulent 1980s. The at-the-time struggling luxury goods company wanted to focus on its women’s ready-to-wear collections with Ford – who had been cutting his teeth working for Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis – at the helm. Ford’s appointment was controversial – many members of the Italian fashion press thought it sacrilegious for a heritage Italian brand to hire an American designer – but proved to be a masterstroke.
Despite a strenuous working relationship with company director Maurizio Gucci (who was eventually murdered in 1995 by a hitman hired by his wife), Ford rapidly exerted his influence at Gucci, becoming creative director in 1994. Controversial ad campaigns (often shot by Mario Testino and styled by Carine Roitfeld), superlative collections and the creation of the chic, glamourous, luxury aesthetic – as epitomised by Ford’s triumphant AW95 show – that is now synonymous with the brand all became hallmarks of Ford’s time at the brand.
AW96 – The iconic side cut out dress
One of the stand-out pieces during Tom Ford’s Gucci tenure was this iconic side cut-out dress from AW96. The dress would not only find fame in Ford’s campaigns but also in Toni Braxton’s pretty excellent video for “Unbreak My Heart” starring Tyson Beckford. The dress served to encapsulate Ford’s Gucci – sexy, sophisticated, technical and highly desirable. Everything the fashion industry aims for, then.
AW14 – One of Frida Giannini’s final collections
Frida Giannini’s knee-high snakeskin boots and pastel blue and baby pink teddy bear coats dominated fashion editorials in AW14. Whilst her reign as Gucci creative director maybe be overlooked when historians eulogise about the work of Ford and Michele either side of her, this collection was one of the strongest and most critically acclaimed in Gucci history.
2015 – Alessandro Michele and “The Gucci Effect”
Alessandro Michele took the fashion world by storm when he took the helm at Gucci, transforming the brand with his bold and kaleidoscopic imagination into a Gucci wonderland inhabited by offbeat aristocrats and woodland creatures. Michelle’s electric revival of the brand has heralded a new maximalist mood in the fashion scene with romantic florals, embroidery and other Michele references featuring in numerous collections since.
Ss16 – Glen Luchford’s campaign
Glen Luchford lent his cinematic style to Gucci’s SS16 campaign, helping to craft a new aesthetic for the house under Alessandro Michele’s eccentric, bohemian vision. The campaign features a gang of Gucci girls and boys parading around Berlin rooftops and unused warehouses in Michele’s romantic designs.
Joining Versace, FURLA and DKNY/Donna Karen in a growing list of major fashion players who are committing to end the fur trade and adopt synthetic alternatives, Gucci announced it’s fur-free plans in October 2017. Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s President and CEO explained the decision during the 2017 Kering talk at the London College of Fashion, “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals. With the help of the Humane Society of the United States, Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes it will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better.”
The modern muse 2k18: Gucci’s Insta-art gang
Teaming up with already established social media stars with millions of followers may seem like the obvious route to go down for an already established and successful fashion house, but part of Gucci’s success in recent years has been down to collaborating with underground Insta-artists to know, from Helen Downie aka @unskilledworker to surreal Spanish illustrator Ignasi Monreal.
Gucci’s History Is Just As Wild As Some of Its Designs
There are few fashion houses as instantly recognizable as Gucci. From Alessandro Michele’s fluid, maximalist designs to the scandalously sexy campaigns from Tom Ford’s tenure at the brand, there simply hasn’t been a time in recent memory where Gucci wasn’t the pinnacle of excessive glamour. But it hasn’t always been that way. Before big names such as Harry Styles and Dakota Johnson were red carpet superfans, the luxury Italian brand had a far humbler upbringing.
If you’ve ever been curious about the history of Gucci, now is your chance to catch up. We’re breaking down the brand’s story for you, ahead, along with a few lesser-known facts about the iconic fashion house.
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Who Founded Gucci?
Guccio Gucci founded the famous fashion house in Florence, Italy in 1921. According to reporting by Rebag, before starting his namesake label, Gucci worked as a porter at the Savoy Hotel in London. Inspired by ritzy hotel guests, he returned home to work for a luggage company, Franzi, and took up leather craftsmanship before launching his own business. At first, Gucci primarily sold leather goods and focused on travel items, but eventually branched out into equestrian equipment as word of the brand reached the ears — and wallets — of British aristocrats.
How Did the Brand Expand?
Eventually, Gucci's sons, Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo, began working for the company, and its reputation continued to grow. But, according to Women's Wear Daily, in 1935, they hit a snag. There was a League of Nations embargo against Italy. and with leather in short supply, the brand was forced to use different materials. A specially woven canapa, or hemp, was created, and Gucci's now-famous interlocking diamond symbol was printed on top.
What Happened After World War II?
As WWD notes, once leather production began picking up following the end of World War II, Aldo Gucci created the brand’s first pigskin bag. The material became the fashion house's signature, and Gucci’s first bamboo-handled bag — which is in the shape of a saddle! — is thought to have been created around the same time. By 1951, Gucci had embraced its famous green-red-green stripe detail.
The '50s were also a great time for the expansion of Gucci's stores. While there were already locations in Florence and Rome, Rodolfo Gucci opened another one in Milan in 1951 before expanding to the U.S. two years later. Shortly before Guccio Gucci's death in 1953, a Gucci store opened at The Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York City as a tribute to his time as a porter. The founder passed away just 15 days later at the age of 71.
What Influence Did Celebrities Have On Gucci's Designs?
In the years following Gucci's death, the brand continued to see success thanks to his sons. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor were photographed carrying bamboo-handled bags, and the Horsebit loafer — with its iconic double ring and bar — was released in 1953.
In 1961, after Jacqueline Kennedy was spotted carrying a Gucci bag, the fashion house renamed it 'The Jackie.' Around the same time, it created a logo (initially used to fasten bags) that is still used today: the famous double-G.
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Grace Kelly had an influence on Gucci's designs as well. When she purchased a bamboo-handled bag in 1966, Rodolfo Gucci gifted her a floral scarf made especially for her. The pattern was a commissioned illustration by famed artist Vittorio Accornero and later named the ‘Flora’ print.
More stores — in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and another location in New York City, which sold clothing — popped up in the '70s, and Gucci even entered the beauty space in 1975, with their debut fragrance, Gucci No. 1.
What Happened to the Gucci Family in the '80s?
Gucci held its first ready-to-wear fashion show in 1981. The collection focused heavily on the ‘Flora’ pattern and took place at the Sala Bianca, Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.
For the next few decades, Gucci underwent several major changes, as well as some drama. Guccio's grandchildren were working at the company by the early '80s, and the family was feuding about who would be in control. Eventually, Rodolfo's son, Maurizio, took over, pushing his cousins and uncle Aldo out of the company.
In 1989, a holdings company, Investcorp, acquired nearly half of Gucci. Bergdorf Goodman's President, Dawn Mello, and its head of Accessories, Richard Lambertson, were then brought in to give the brand a much-needed boost.
When Did Tom Ford Take Over at Gucci?
The real change occurred in 1990, when a wildly talented young designer named Tom Ford entered the picture. Initially, he oversaw Gucci's ready-to-wear collection, but became the fashion house's Creative Director in 1994. During that time, Maurizio Gucci sold the rest of his shares to Investcorp. He was murdered a few years later in 1995.
To this day, Ford is considered to be the designer who truly revitalized Gucci, incorporating hypersexual designs and campaign imagery. His Fall 1995 collection and sleek, minimalist '90s designs were a massive commercial success, and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna were all photographed wearing his pieces on the red carpet.
In 1999, the iconic ‘Jackie’ bag was relaunched with a few updates, quickly becoming the new must-have item that year.
How Did Gucci Become Part of Kering?
In the late '90s, LVMH slowly started purchasing shares of the company, despite pushback from Gucci's then-CEO Domenico De Sole. However, before the company took over completely, investor François Pinault, of Pinault Printemps Redoute (or PPR), strategically became the major stakeholder. PPR would later be renamed Kering in 2013, and Gucci remains a part of the conglomerate today.
In 2004, Ford and CEO Domenico De Sole left the company over contract disputes with PPR, but not before Ford brought Fendi's former handbag designer, Frida Giannini, into the mix, hoping to bolster Gucci’s accessories department. John Ray took over menswear after Ford’s departure, while Alessandra Facchinetti handled womenswear. Giannini was later promoted to Creative Director of accessories.
How Did Gucci Change After Tom Ford?
The years following Tom Ford’s departure showed significant change for the company. As noted by Business of Fashion, in 2006, Giannini was named Creative Director, and her relaunch of the ‘Flora’ pattern — instead of focusing on the double-G logo — proved massively successful.
In 2008, Gucci aired its first-ever TV campaign for the Gucci by Gucci scent, which was directed by David Lynch. Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, Giannini’s first men’s scent, launched with campaign star James Franco that same year. The now-iconic Flora by Gucci fragrance was launched in 2009.
When Did Alessandro Michele Join Gucci?
In late 2014, it was abruptly announced that Giannini and CEO Patrizio Di Marco would both be leaving the company. Alessandro Michele, who had already devoted 12 years to the brand, was then announced as the new Creative Director. The appointment of the relatively unknown accessories designer came as a shock to many within the industry. In his first move as Creative Director, Michele helped design an entirely new menswear collection in less than a week, according to The New York Times. His first womenswear collection debuted a month later on the Milan runway, and was an instant success. Marco Bizzarri was also brought in as the new president and CEO of Gucci following Di Marco’s exit.
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What's Happening Now?
In the years after his appointment, Michele turned the luxury house into the printed, sequined, oversized-glasses-loving vision that we know today. In 2017, the company announced its plans to go entirely fur-free and has promised to reduce its environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions, by 2025. In 2019, Gucci relaunched its makeup line, Gucci Beauty, and introduced it first unisex fragrance, Mémoire d’Une Odeur. Most recently, Michele announced in May 2020 that Gucci is embracing seasonless fashion and leaving the structure of Fashion Week behind. It will also be cutting down on its shows, going from five to just two per year.
1990 collection gucci
The House of Gucci: A Complete History and Timeline
Just like the long-lived mythological phoenix, Gucci has cyclically regenerated, reaching its centenary in 2021, passing through family feuds, take-over attempts, a near-bankruptcy, a public listing, storybook turnarounds and even a murder — which has sparked the Ridley Scott film “House of Gucci” starring Lady Gaga — but the allure of the brand is enduring.
An allure that was carefully crafted by the founder himself, Guccio Gucci, who in 1897 found work at London’s prestigious Savoy Hotel as a bellboy. Famously, the tale goes that he was inspired to create his company by the luxurious suitcases and trunks carried by the aristocrats staying at the hotel. The original storyteller, Gucci associated the brand with luxury and those aristocrats’ pastimes, such as horse-riding — hence the brand’s signature horsebit decorative element.
In 1921, Gucci’s first stores opened in Florence, where he founded the company. The boutique in Rome’s luxury shopping street Via Condotti opened in 1938.
Gucci was not one to lose heart and, as a result of a League of Nations embargo against Italy, he found alternatives to imported leather and other materials in the 1935-1936 period, developing a specially woven hemp from Naples, printed with the first signature print — a series of small, interconnecting diamonds in dark brown on a tan background. This served to launch the brand’s first successful suitcases.
Production of leather goods resumed after World War II, and Gucci’s son Aldo introduced the pigskin, which became a signature house material. The first bamboo-handled bag, inspired by the shape of a saddle, is thought to be produced in this period.
In addition to Aldo, Gucci and his wife Aida had two other sons, Vasco and Rodolfo.
In 1948, Maurizio Gucci was born to Rodolfo and his wife, Alessandra.
In 1951, Rodolfo opened the first Milan store, on Via Montenapoleone. Around this time, the green-red-green web became a hallmark of the company.
In 1953, a pioneer if Italian design in the U.S., Aldo Gucci opened the first American store in the Savoy Plaza Hotel on East 58th Street in New York. Guccio Gucci died at age 72, 15 days after the New York store opening. The Gucci loafer with metal horsebit was created that year and in 1985 it would be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, becoming part of the permanent collection.
The house’s crest became a registered trademark in 1955.
In 1961, stores opened in London and Palm Beach and the bag that Jacqueline Kennedy was seen with was renamed the Jackie, which would be relaunched in 1999 in many colors and variations to great success, opening the era of the Gucci “It” bag.
In the early ‘60s, the GG logo was applied to canvas and used for bags, small leather goods, luggage and the first pieces of clothing.
In 1966, the Flora scarf print was designed for Princess Grace of Monaco. The pattern has become iconic for Gucci, revisited by creative directors Frida Giannini and, most recently by Alessandro Michele in his Aria collection.
In 1972, Gucci opened a store in Tokyo and Maurizio Gucci, Rodolfo’s son, moved to New York to work with his uncle Aldo until 1982. Around this time, the brand hit its fashion stride. A store dedicated to clothing opened at 699 Fifth Avenue in New York, while 689 Fifth Avenue focused on shoes, bags, luggage and accessories.
Gucci’s first fragrance was launched in 1975 and scents would continue to be a stronghold for the company, from Gucci Guilty and Flora by Gucci to Gucci by Gucci and Gucci Bloom.
In 1981, Gucci showed ready-to-wear for the first time at the Sala Bianca in Florence, playing heavily on the Flora print.
In 1982, leadership of the company passed on to Rodolfo Gucci and the following year to his son Maurizio, who was the first to dream of the relaunch the family brand, which had lost its exclusivity and luster, as it became associated with cheap duty-free bags.
In 1989, Maurizio Gucci teamed with Bahrain-based investment banking and asset management company Investcorp, which purchased 50 percent of Gucci shares from the family — Aldo was the last to accept to sell.
Maurizio Gucci’s intuition was to call Dawn Mello, then president of Bergdorf Goodman, to revitalize the brand. She brought Richard Lambertson, head of Bergdorf’s accessories department, to be the design director and in 1990 American designer Tom Ford joined the company to oversee women’s ready-to-wear.
Gucci’s restructuring was hit by a difficult retail market in the early ‘90s while customers had to adjust to a new and more sophisticated product, and in 1993, Maurizio Gucci transferred his shares to Investcorp, ending the family’s involvement in the firm.
In 1994 Ford was appointed creative director. His first collection, for fall 1995, focused on jet-set glamour and was a critical and commercial success, putting the label back at the forefront of fashion.
On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was gunned down in front of his office in Milan.
For nearly two years the identity of Maurizio’s killer remained a mystery, until it was revealed that his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani — through her spiritual adviser — had hired a hit man to end his life.
The year Maurizio died, Gucci went public on the New York and Amsterdam stock exchanges, as the company thrived under the lead of CEO Domenico De Sole and Ford — dubbed the Tom and Dom Dream Team, becoming architects of the ultimate luxury brand revival.
De Sole, previously CEO of Gucci America Inc., began reining in licenses, franchises and secondary lines to reverse a decade that saw the overexposure of the brand and the cheapening of its image.
In the mid-’90s, Ford’s collections set the sleek, sexy, modern style of the house’s look and established it as a brand dedicated to evening glamour, attracting Hollywood A-listers.
De Sole and Ford became friends and allies in what would become a history-making war with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
A few years after Ford’s breakout, the company piqued the interest of Prada, which took a 9.5 percent stake. Between June 1998 and February 1999, LVMH chief Bernard Arnault began to amass Gucci shares, eventually building up a stake of 34.4 percent through a series of transactions, before attempting a takeover, which was eventually foiled.
De Sole and Ford had cried foul, igniting what was one of the most dramatic corporate fashion battles of the 20th century. Gucci accused LVMH — which by then had swallowed up Prada’s stake in the company — of wanting to take “creeping control” without launching a full and fair bid to shareholders. That move would have been perfectly legal in the Netherlands, where Gucci was listed.
Arnault’s French rival François Pinault rode in as Gucci’s white knight, and brought the company into what was then PPR, and is now known as Kering.
The two companies fought bitterly in the Dutch courts — and in the international press — and swapped lawsuits and vitriol on an almost daily basis.
More lawsuits ensued following PPR’s purchase, and LVMH finally forced its French rival to launch a full and fair takeover of Gucci, which it did on Sept. 10, 2001. Ultimately, PPR won full control over Gucci.
In the ensuing years, De Sole and Ford shifted their focus: Gucci morphed into Gucci Group, and the two set about spending the $2.9 billion from the PPR deal. In less than three years, they bought Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Boucheron and Bedat.
Tensions built between the new management and Ford and De Sole, who eventually left the company in 2004 after trying — and failing — to strike a deal for management, financial and creative independence.
In 2002 Frida Giannini, previously handbag designer for Fendi, joined the label’s accessories department, contributing bold reinventions of house signatures as part of Ford’s design team.
In 2004, when Ford left, John Ray took over men’s design; Alessandra Facchinetti took on women’s, and Giannini became creative director of accessories. Robert Polet, the head of Unilever’s $7.8 billion frozen-food division, traded ice cream and fish sticks for handbags and stilettos as the new CEO of Gucci Group. Mark Lee, CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, was named Gucci CEO.
In 2005 Giannini was appointed creative director of women’s ready-to-wear and a year later, she added the role of creative director for men’s wear.
During the celebration for the 70th anniversary of its Roman store, the 2009 cruise collection show was live-streamed on the website.
In 2009 Patrizio di Marco, head of group-owned Bottega Veneta, joined Gucci as president and CEO succeeding Lee.
In 2010, the Singapore Paragon Gucci store reopened, and the city-state celebrated Giannini with a special orchid, the Paravanda Frida.
Giannini proposed clothes with a functional chic and a hefty dose of the essential house glamour. The designer and di Marco, who grew to become partners in life, emphasized the brand’s Italian craftsmanship, archival iconography and jet-set lifestyle.
In December 2014, following a slowdown in sales, di Marco exited the company, followed a month later by Giannini.
Di Marco was succeeded by Marco Bizzarri, a former Bottega Veneta CEO and previously head of Kering’s luxury couture and leather goods division, in January 2015. In another storybook turnaround, Bizzarri famously promoted Giannini’s deputy and head accessories designer Alessandro Michele as creative director that same January, two days after the designer showed his completely new, quirky and androgynous aesthetic for Gucci’s men’s fall 2015 season.
Quickly assembled in only a few days, following the sudden exit of Giannini a week earlier, that men’s fall 2015 collection sowed the seeds of Michele’s style, which would help return Gucci to the fashion forefront, cater to a younger customer and fueling growth exceeding 35 percent for five consecutive quarters by the first quarter of 2018, prompting Bizzarri to set a 10 billion euro revenue target for the brand in June that year.
Michele revisited Gucci’s iconic GG logo, canvas bags and horse-bit loafers, which he turned into fur-lined slippers and clogs, further driving sales of the accessories division — historically a cash cow for the brand. Logo bags came hand-painted with flowers or embroidered with big insects — a theme dear to Michele, who continued to explore it over the seasons.
Five years after his debut at Gucci, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Michele abandoned what he has called “the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call. We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story,” conceiving new names for the collections and inspired by the music world.
Michele directed with Gus Van Sant a series of seven episodes for his collection “Ouverture of Something That Never Ended” in November 2020, tapping the likes of Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Florence Welch, among others.
In April 2021, marking the brand’s 100th milestone, Michele presented his “Aria” collection, revisiting a number of Gucci signature designs, from the Bamboo bag to the Flora motif, and introducing an innovative tie-up with Balenciaga.
Gucci is sure to get an extra dose of attention from the “House of Gucci” movie being filmed in Italy and expected to premiere in theaters on Nov. 24, with Lady Gaga playing Patrizia Reggiani, Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci and Al Pacino in the role of Aldo Gucci. Reggiani, who was due to spend 26 years in jail, was freed after 17 years. Although she openly admitted hating her ex-husband, she denied ever wanting to kill him.
other 90s gucci looks due a comeback
In 1990 Tom Ford relocated from the US to Milan and joined a then-struggling Gucci. The once popular luxury Italian leather brand had endured a significant fall from grace throughout the 80s and was looking for a complete brand overhaul. There had been a number of missteps through the decade, namely fractures between members of the Gucci family, and the misjudged release of cheap branded lighters and keyrings that had tarnished its exclusive image (although imagine how much a Gucci lighter could sell for now?)
Tom Ford had been working under Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis before his appointment. At Gucci he was assigned the role of chief designer for women’s ready-to-wear -- the brand’s new main focus. Many of the Italian fashion press were unhappy with the appointment; an American at an Italian heritage brand. But, quick to prove the critics wrong, within months Ford’s role expanded to include everything from store design to fragrance and, in 1994, he became creative director across the entire brand.
Showing his first collection at the helm for spring/summer 95, Ford presented a new vision for Gucci, and one that sparked a seismic shift in 90s fashion. Unbuttoned satin shirts met low-riding velvet trousers and jewel-tone colours in a holy matrimony of fresh, louche sex appeal. Simultaneously, a new CEO of the Gucci Group (now Kering) began retracting all of the brand’s licensing, franchises and diffusion lines that had diluted its image. What ensued was profit rise of 90% between 1994 and and 1995, and Gucci’s dominance as arguably the hottest brand of the 90s.
In 2018, the brand still reigns supreme. Frida Giannini -- who succeeded Ford -- doubled-down on some of the house’s early iconic prints and shapes from the pre-Ford era, Gucci’s reputation salvaged enough to begin referencing its heritage. Diffusing some of the harshness and darkness of Ford, Giannini gave way to the whimsical maximal we know and love of the Alessandro Michele era.
But while Michele does make reference to the Tom Ford days, much of the raw sex appeal remains in the archives, replaced by kitsch, baroque wonder. With Kim Kardashian showing off her vintage Gucci 90s thong the other day -- a thong so iconic it’s in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- we decided to have look back to the Tom Ford glory days at what else could be a due a comeback.
A shoelace wrap choker situation
As worn by Kate Moss, an impractical, entirely superfluous long leather shoelace tied around the neck, presumably left dragging along the floor and creating hazardous walking conditions in its wake.
Random assorted cutouts
Beneath which sits a single piece of gold body-jewellery that's part of a thong.
The much-maligned mullet rarely makes an appearance in the cloistered world of high fashion. Where buzzcuts, bobs and bowl cuts have enjoyed their moment of glory, only a designer as brave as Ford would dare bring out the mullet. In 2018’s ever-expanding odyssey of subversion, what could be a more fitting cut. Nihilistic times calls for nihilistic hair.
G-strings for men
Two decades later, we're still waiting for G-strings to become the dominant trend among men that they deserve to be. Pair with boots and a watch and you can take on the world!
Given the global political situation, a pair of premium designer handcuffs feels a little tone-deaf to announce as deserving of “a comeback”. These particular cuffs, however, come with a backstory so outrageously and fantastically 90s Italian fashion drama, that they'll forever live in fashion infamy. Designed in 1998 by Ford, the cuffs were produced the same year Patrizia Reggiani, the wife of Guccio Gucci’s grandson, was sentenced to prison for having her husband whacked.
A more manageable trend, though one that still requires a certain degree of confidence, Ford took smart, elegant satin shirts and undid them a few buttons south of what your office dress code might allow. See also: nothing-but-a-denim-jacket.
Supply teacher glasses
Frameless specs hide a multitude of sins. Worn with a polo neck and a secret thong, think of this as full Supply Teacher Gone Wild.
Madonna’s VMA look
This entire look from Madonna at the VMAs, was straight off the catwalk from Ford’s spring/summer 95 bonanza. Though seemingly tame by today’s standards, the lean, low-slung trousers and visible bra were lauded at the time and helped propel the new Gucci to even greater levels of fame.
So impractical, such uncharted territory. It's fashion mutiny of the highest order.
It couldn't go unmentioned
Proceed with caution.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.
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