Stored and Adored

Dedicated to Designer and Pre-Loved Bags

Saturday, 29 April 2017

All About Gucci: The History Behind Gucci's Designer Bags

stored and adored designer bag blog: all about gucci brand
photo by Jon Gurinsky / CC BY / resized

Founded way back in 1921, Gucci enjoys a long history as a popular fashion house.

Guccio Gucci (whose name we have to thank for Gucci’s interlocking GG logo) kicked everything off with a single Florentine store. Over the years, Gucci has slowly evolved into a global brand name, with more than 278 directly operated stores worldwide.

I don’t think that I would describe Gucci’s trajectory as smooth – there were some super scandals in the 1980s-1990s – but it has slowly but surely motored its way to the top of the pile.

photo by Sarah Tirona / CC BY

Famously, Guccio Gucci is said to have been inspired to begin his on luxury leather goods company whilst he was working at the Savoy Hotel in central London. During his time there, he witnessed the rich and privilege of the upper classes and saw first-hand all of their luxury leather travel cases and trunks. He also came to understand the importance that this class of society placed on horses, and this inspired him to direct his leather goods towards equestrian products. This is also why so many of Gucci’s early handbags feature the horsebit icon.

stored and adored designer bag blog: all about gucci
photo by Matthieu Lebreton / CC BY / edited: brighter & sharper

Guccio’s three sons joined the business and helped to expand the brand to Milan and Rome. However, during World War II there was a shortage of luxury materials, which meant that luxury brands were forced to innovate. It was during this period that Gucci started making bags from cotton canvas (due to leather shortages) and this canvas was distinguished with the signature double-g symbol that is still recognizable today.

Additionally, in 1947 Gucci also began making handbags with bamboo handles and these has become another enduring Gucci design detail.

storedandadored designer bag blog: all about gucci
photo by Matthieu Lebreton / CC BY / edited: brighter & sharper

In 1953, Gucci successfully expanded to New York and, in 1972, Gucci continued on to open stores in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Gucci continued to grow as a brand, however, familial in-fighting and scandal meant that it began to struggle and was eventually sold to new investors. In 1990, Tom Ford was hired to refresh Gucci’s image, and he was eventually made Creative Director in 1994.

Tom Ford worked at Gucci until 2005, and he is famous for increasing Gucci’s sales by 90%.

photo by Sarah Tirona / CC BY

 Since 2005, there have been a series of new Creative Directors and the latest was appointed in January 2015.

Alessandro Michele worked at Gucci for many years before he was promoted to the top creative position, and it’s safe to say that he has completely transformed Gucci’s image. After working as the Creative Director for less than a year, Alessandro Michele was awarded International Fashion Designer of the Year in December 2015 – proving that he was, at the very least, a critical success.

Sales figures have apparently followed suit, with sales increasing by 4.8% in 2015. However, in the coming years it will be very interesting to see how Alessandro Michele’s collections evolve and how he manages to find a balance between respect for Gucci’s archive and the need to keep the brand fresh and modern.


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