Gucci is a global luxury brand with some of the most iconic designs of the last century. The fashion house is known for its impeccable Italian craftsmanship and dedication to style.
In 1921, Guccio Gucci opened the House of Gucci in Florence, Italy. The founder earned his reputation for high-quality leather travel bags with classic styling. During WWII, the company faced material shortages, so they had to introduce canvas in their designs. One of their first canvas prints featured a double G symbol with prominent red and green bands. After the war, this print became a signature Gucci design.
1953 was a banner year for Gucci. They introduced their signature loafer, with its now iconic horse bit design, and opened their first American store at New York’s Savoy Plaza Hotel. The company’s international influence grew as movie stars and the wealthy elite turned Gucci goods into status symbols. Jacqueline Kennedy favored a hobo style Gucci handbag, and in 1961, the bag was renamed “the Jackie” in her honor.
In the 80s, the company began to suffer from internal conflicts. After his father’s death, Rodolfo Gucci’s son Maurizio assumed control and led the company into financial trouble. Under his leadership, the product line ballooned to some 20,000 items.
In an effort to reestablish the brand’s reputation, the company appointed Dawn Mello as Executive Vice President and Creative Director Worldwide in 1989. Mello hired rising fashion star, Tom Ford, as the brand’s womenswear designer. Despite creative clashes with company chairman Maurizio, Ford quickly made his mark. He was soon in charge of Gucci’s ready-to-wear, fragrances, advertising and store design.
Ford was promoted to Creative Director in 1994. His Fall 1995 Ready-To-Wear Collection launched a new era of Gucci. The designer featured barely-buttoned satin shirts, skinny velvet pants and bright patent leather shoes. The collection was super sexy and unmistakably cool. From 1994 to 2004, the Gucci Group’s sales increased from $230 million to $3 billion.
In 2003, the French multinational Pinault Printemps Redoute bought an ownership share of Gucci’s stock, which led to internal disagreements and Ford’s departure in 2004.
Today, Gucci is helmed by creative director Alessandro Michele. The eccentric, bohemian-influenced designer is again taking the brand in a new direction. His vision is distinctly romantic with vintage-inspired fabrics and designs.
In Vogue, Michele states, “I am trying to cause a little revolution inside the company—to push another language, a different way to talk about beauty and sexiness…It’s about sensuality now.” The recent collections still feature the brand’s iconic double G logo on belts, red and green striping on track suits, and variety of signature bit loafers.