Founded in Florence, Italy in 1921 Gucci is one of the world’s leading luxury brands. Following the House’s centenary, Gucci is forging ahead in the luxury industry and celebrating Italian craftsmanship, contemporary design and creativity. As part of the global luxury group Kering, Gucci is one the most renowned and influential luxury brands in the world today.
In 2017- in keeping with Kering’s commitment to responsible business practices- Gucci unveiled “Culture of Purpose”: a ten-year sustainability plan that focuses on creating a positive environmental and social impact which is outlined in the Gucci Equilibrium platform. More recently in January 2023 Gucci announced the arrival of Sabato De Sarno as Creative Director who has taken over the reins of designing and presenting all collections.
The house of Gucci took shape back in 1921 in Florence. Founder Guccio Gucci moved to London where he found work as a luggage porter at Savoy Hotel. It was here he gained a deep understanding of what the A-list set looked for in luxury goods and met his future consumers. When returning home to Florence he learnt leather craftsmanship at Franz and with the support of his wife used their savings and a loan to open the first Gucci store in Florence.
The focus was on leather goods. Initially working on saddlery.. the era of horse-drawn carts quickly gave way to cars.. with a new focus on luggage and travel accessories. As Gucci developed into a family business with Guccio’s three sons- Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo- the luxury brand enjoyed unprecedented success. However it faced material constraints from the League of Nations embargo against Italy and leather was in short supply. Notwithstanding- the brand continued to grow throughout the Thirties with its products handcrafted with woven canapa and hemp. And bags featured the signature print of the house- the series of small interconnecting diamonds in dark brown on a tan background.
In 1938 a new store opened in Rome. it was a new era for Gucci. After World War II traditional materials were difficult to source so the brand began using bamboo for the handle of its new bag: 1947 Gucci Bamboo. It was inspired by the shape of a saddle referencing the brand’s equestrian roots. The Fifties witnessed the house expanding into the United States of America.
Guccio Gucci passed away in 1953 leaving his business in the hands of his three sons. In 1955 the brand launched the iconic Gucci Horsebit Bag. In 1961 former first lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy was spotted holding the G1907 Gucci Bag which the house then renamed “The Jackie”. That era witnessed the brand expanding to London and Palm Beach. And the first Gucci logo- the double G- was created as a clasp to fasten bags. The brand then opened its first store in Parisin 1963 and the Flora scarf was made in 1966 for Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.
Gucci began opening stores worldwide ranging from Tokyo to Hong Kong. In 1975 luxury brand diversified into beauty with the first fragrance: No 1. The Seventies also witnessed the marriage of Maurizio- son of Rodolfo- and Patrizia Reggiani. With the third generation now heavily involved in the business.. family feuds began forming and in particular with respect to this relationship.
Vasco Gucci passed away in 1974 leaving the business to his two brothers: Aldo and Rodolfo. Gucci held its first ready-to-wear show in 1981 in Florence. The Eighties led to changes within the fashion house as the family feud only grew as a tussle for control. When Rodolfo passed away in 1983 he left his share to his son Maurizio who in time took over the fashion house. As the company grew everyone wanted the seat of power. Aldo became Chairman of the board emeritus while Maurizio was Chairman of Gucci Shops Inc. – the American arm of the business- and Aldo’s sons become vice chairmen.
However Maurizio brought his fair share of scandals to the business including tax evasion and a majority of shares of Gucci was acquired by Investcorp. Saving the fashion house from bankruptcy Bergdorf Goodman’s President Dawn Mello and Head of Accessories Richard Lambertson were brought in to give the brand a new lease of life.
1990 witnessed the death of Aldo Gucci leaving the business in the hands of Guccio’s grandchildren. The same year brought the appointment of Tom Ford as head of womenswear. Three years later the family-owned empire was left in the hands of outsiders. Maurizio Gucci transferred all his shares to Investcorp.. ending the family’s involvement in the luxury brand.
In 1994 Tom Ford was oappointed creative director of Gucci. His first collection for Fall 1995 put Gucci back on the fashion map with glamour at the core of the collection. Ford is credited with re-instating the name and brand image of Gucci well into the Nineties. However the brand was not free from scandal: Maurizio Gucci was murdered in March 1995 and three years later his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani was sentenced for organising the assassination!
The late Nineties witnessed the battle of LVMH and PPR -now known as Kering- who wanted the fashion house. LVMH began purchasing shares of Gucci but before the company could take over.. PPR quickly became the major stakeholder. And Tom Ford left due to issues with PPR in 2004. He was succeeded by Giannini in 2006. When Giannini left in 2014 Alessandro Michele was announced as the new creative director of Gucci. On 23 November 2022 Michele left Gucci after seven years and iin January 2023 Gucci announced Sabato De Sarno as Creative Director.
Luxury fashion brand Gucci draws on its rich history, Italian craftsmanship and contemporary design to create distinct looks for an elegant modern consumer. With a legacy spanning nearly a century Gucci has stood as a symbol of opulent fashion, consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation and luxury. The brand’s unwavering dedication to quality and ingenuity is rooted in its storied past, dating back to its inception in 1921. By harmonizing traditional craftsmanship with avant-garde design, Gucci has fashioned a timeless allure that captivates those who seek both opulence and the power to make a statement. Whether it’s the iconic double-G logo or their vibrant use of colors and patterns, Gucci consistently strikes a harmonious balance between classic elegance and modern flair.. establishing itself as the premier choice for connoisseurs of refined living.
Luxury brand Gucci’s mission is to become the leader in luxury market worldwide.
Italian luxury brand Gucci retails ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags, fashion accessories and home line. And it licenses its name and branding to Coty for fragrance and cosmetics under Gucci Beauty.
During his tenure as Creative Director for Gucci, Tom Ford won a plethora of awards, including VH1-Vogue Best New Designer (1995) Designer of the Year (1996) CFDA International Designer of the Year (1996) Elle Style Awards’ Style Icon Award (2000) British GQ International Man of the Year (2000) Time Best Fashion Designer (2001) and GQ Designer of the Year (2001). Alessandro Michele has also been decorated throughout his tenure winning the International Designer Award from the British Fashion Council in his first year at the house (2015) as well as the Trailblazer Award in 2021 — one of the British Fashion Council’s Special Recognition Awards.