Footprints of a legend…
by Andira Vitale
The year 1921, whose effects on world political history will last for hundreds of years, was also a turning point for the Gucci brand. In this year when Adolf Hitler became the head of the National Socialist German Workers Party, Benito Mussolini founded the National Fascist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party was founded, Gucci was also opening its doors to the fashion world as a small family business. While some left indelible stains on human history, others, like Gucci, traveled the world like a rainbow with their tenacity, designs, colors and immortal breath.
Horseshoe has been considered auspicious since ancient times. The “U”shape of the Moon had a special meaning. Its crescent-like shape represented “good luck, protection, and fertility. “Was Guccio Gucci, who uses horseshoes in his products, also in this belief? We don’t know… But it is a fact that the light, fame and abundance of the brand surrounds the whole world…
The light rising from Tuscany…
Guccio Gucci was born in Florence, Tuscany, Kingdom of Italy in 1881. Born into a Tuscan family, Gucci’s parents were Gabriello Gucci, a leather master from San Miniato, and Elena Santini from Lastra a Signa. In his youth, Guccio went to London to work for economic reasons. In 1899, he worked for a short time at the Savoy Hotel in London. It was here that Guccio Gucci was able to mingle with elegant high-end hotel guests and luggage companies such as H. J. Cave & Sons. In this process, his interest in tasteful and quality suitcases began. Returning to the country of his family’s roots, Guccio started working at the luxury suitcase brand Franzi.
The birth of the Gucci House
Guccio Gucci founded The House of Gucci in Florence in 1921. The House of Gucci was a family business. There was also a small workshop where he produced. Gucci first started selling saddles, leather bags and other accessories to horsemen. Later, it added luxury suitcases to its product range. In 1938, at the insistence of his son Aldo, Gucci opened another store in Rome’s famous Condotti Street. In 1947, the Gucci icon began to become a recognized brand. Around this time, leather bags with bamboo handles were produced.
During World War II, he prepared boots for the soldiers. It was difficult to find leather, as in all areas. The lack of materials led to the production of bags from cotton and canvas instead of leather. Gucci began to include other fabrics in the composition of its products, such as raffia, straw, wood, linen and jute. The iconic Bamboo Bag was born in 1947 in similar circumstances. Gucci craftsmen When they searched for new materials at the end of World War II, they discovered that they could use Japanese bamboo to make unique bag handles. With its unique and patented processing method, bamboo handles have become one of Gucci’s iconic designs.
Fathers and sons
Guccio Gucci’s wife and children were also with him. Aldo had joined the company in 1933. Aldo designed the double G logo, which includes the initials of his father’s name and surname. Again at his insistence, a Gucci store was opened in Rome in 1938 and the products were diversified. In 1947, the Gucci icon became known. In 1951, the Milan branch was opened. While Guccio wanted to keep his business small, his brand remained only in Italy while he was alive. But two weeks before Guccio’s death, the New York Gucci boutique was opened by his sons Aldo, Rodolfo and Vasco. After Guccio’s death, his sons continued the success of the company. The Gucci brand has expanded to open stores and diversify its product range in international locations such as Paris, Beverly Hills, London, Palm Beach, and Tokyo.
Elizabeth Taylor Jacqueline Kennedy Princess Diana
Brand of the stars
From the 1950s, the brand began to be a preferred brand among rich travellers and Hollywood stars. In the 1960s, Hollywood stars such as Grace Kelly, Liz Taylor, Peter Sellers and Audrey Hepburn added the Gucci brand to their styles. Gucci was now synonymous with the word “chic”. When the Gucci shoulder bag, which would later become known as “Jackie O,” was photographed, Jackie Kennedy joined the trend.Princess Diana, who won the title of princess of the whole world, was also displaying her admiration for Gucci with her favorite bamboo-handled bags.
Adding luxury accessories such as glasses, watches and jewellery to its collection in the mid-60s, Gucci’s scarf, which was specially produced for Grace Kelly, the princess of Monaco in 1966, further increased its brand power.
One day, Grace Kelly comes to the Gucci store to buy a Bamboo Bag. After this visit, Rodolfo Gucci asked Italian illustrator Vittorio Accornero to design a floral scarf for him. Flora, a pattern in which 43 different flowers, plants and insects come together with 37 different colors, becomes one of Gucci’s signatures.
Continuing to grow, Gucci opened its first clothing store in the 1970s. She released her first perfume in 1975.
Guccio Gucci died on January 2, 1953. The first 10 years of his years with his sons are called the “golden age of Gucci”. On the other hand, inheritance quarrels and divisions began to occur within the family. Aldo’s son Paolo ignited his first family feud by founding Gucci Boutique on his own. Aldo spent 1 year in prison for tax evasion. Paolo was unsuccessful and went bankrupt. Roberto, one of Aldo’s sons, started a small leather goods business in Florence after selling his stake in the family business and would once say, “The Gucci’s were a wonderful family. I apologize for all his mistakes.” his son Maurizio Gucci takes over the majority. Paolo’s failed business venture, while Aldo is imprisoned, Maurizio takes full control. But he does not succeed like his uncle and father Aldo. In 1988, Maurizio Gucci held 50% of Gucci and half sold it to a Bahraini company, Investcorp, which has owned Tiffany since 1984. Investcorp ended the family’s presence in the company in 1993 by purchasing the remaining 50% of “Guccio Gucci SpA” from Maurizio Gucci. Maurizio Gucci’s relationship with his family and company will have a negative impact on the Gucci brand, with his wife, Patrizia Martinelli.
The tragic end of Maurizio Gucci!
Maurizio Gucci’s meeting with Patrizia Martinelli at a party in 1970 creates turning points in his life. Patrizia follows Maurizio and finds ways to get closer to him. And without the consent of Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo, Maurizio and Patrizia get married two years later. According to Rodolfo Gucci, Patrizia was a woman who was fond of money, power, and social status. Patrizia then finds ways to get closer to Uncle Aldo. And then she finds ways to get Aldo and Paolo out of the company. The couple went on the run for a year for commercial reasons after the rapid rise. Maurizio, who fell in love again during this time, decided to divorce his wife and left Patrizia. Patrizia’s personal ambitions and deviant behaviours were also effective in this abandonment. Patrizia, who does not accept this separation and Maurizio’s deception, hired a hit man to have Maurizio Gucci killed in the lobby of Gucci’s Milan office in March 1995. Patrizia gets 16 years in prison for hiring the murder hitman.
Gucci’s Investcorp era
Former Bergdorf Goodman president Dawn Mello took the creative director seat of Gucci in 1989 and set up a team for herself. In the new collection, they brought the original Gucci “horseshoe” loafer model back to life with rainbow colors, but without success.
Tom Ford, who later took the creative director’s chair, gives the brand a sexy look. Contrary to the minimalism trend of the 90s, narrow strap dresses and sexy stilettos are embraced by consumers with great passion. This star designer starts working with fashion geniuses of the next generation; Carine becomes her stylist and Mario Testino becomes her photographer of choice. Together, this trio does a lot of resounding work in high fashion advertising. Gucci increases its sales to $10 billion. However, in 2004, the Pinault Printemps Redoute agency’s attempt to buy the brand caused Ford to continue on its own.
Head of women’s collections, Alessandra Facchinetti parted ways with the brand in 2005 after two unsuccessful seasons. With her farewell, eyes were turned to Frida Giannini, who has been working within the brand since 2002. Giannini, who became the head of the bag department at the age of 24, crowns his success in the department as the creative director. Gianni abandons Ford’s sexy looks. Its guide is the classic lines and designs of the brand. The iconic Flora pattern is adapted to different designs and the Bamboo Bag is reinterpreted. Giannini’s collections become ordinary after a while and the sales momentum of the brand begins to decline.
In 2015, Marco Bizzarri was appointed CEO of Gucci. Alessandro Michele became the designer. It was thought that little recognition would be a problem for the brand. However, they thought that “The way you dress is an expression of what you feel, what you experience, what you read, and your choices. Defending the view that “this is exactly the understanding I want to place in Gucci,” Michele was very successful.
Michele pushed Gucci in a direction that was both new and familiar and scoured the brand’s archives to search for textiles, photographs and apparel to inspire their collections. In the short time that Michele was the head of Gucci, menswear collections focused on the intense use of colorful prints, retro style and home wear. In early 2017, it was announced that Gucci achieved record sales under Michele’s leadership and an 11% increase in profits from the brand’s parent company, Kering, and the brand’s high performance has continued to this day.
Gucci company is still in our lives as the second leading company with a value of $ 15.99 billion today by going public. Currently, no one from the Gucci family is involved in this brand.