Gucci A Brief History
Guccio Gucci was born in Florence on 26 March 1881. Gucci was an Italian-British businessman and a legendary designer and it is said that he became fascinated by the stylish guests at the Savoy Hotel in London, where he worked as a lift boy in the early 1900s. It was not just the high quality clothes of the wealthy guests that inspired Gucci but also their well made luggage. On his return to Florence, Gucci created travel bags. The House of Gucci was founded in 1921. Originally it was a small family-owned leather goods shop. As the business grew so did Gucci’s reputation for high quality craftsmanship. He engaged the best craftsmen in the region. In the 1920s the business was very well known for their saddle bags. By 1938, Gucci had outlets in Rome and his sons, Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo would follow in his footsteps. Until his death in 1953 Gucci managed the brand.
GUCCI ADVERTISEMENT C.1920S
During the 1930s Gucci became inspired by horse racing. Often the hardware for his leather goods were made to resemble horse bits and stirrups.
In 1932 Gucci crafted the loafer shoe with a gilded snaffle (horse bit).....so stylish that these shoes are the only footwear on display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Crafting the Gucci Loafer - final stages before the snaffle bit is added © Gucci
In the 1940s the firm faced shortages of the usual materials needed to create bags and other accessories. During the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini leather was often very difficult to acquire.
Undeterred Gucci began producing luggage and handbags made from linen, hemp and jute. Bamboo was incorporated to form handles. 1947 was the first known year of availability for the Bamboo Bag.
ACTRESS ILARIA OCCHINI WITH BAMBOO BAG © GUCCI
By the middle of the twentieth century Gucci’s striped red and green web stripe was a huge success and is to be found on many of their accessories, most noticeably their luggage. Once again the equestrian world was the inspiration for this web stripe….. a traditional horse girth. During this era Gucci stores in Milan & New York were hugely popular. Elaborate & luxurious vanity cases, known as minaudiere, were the collaboration of Italian silversmiths & Gucci.
STERLING SILVER MID-CENTURY GUCCI MINAUDIERE
STERLING SILVER GOLD & FAUX MALACHITE EMBLEM
An exquisitely beautiful & extremely rare sterling silver & faux malachite minaudiere c.1950. A high quality luxury item the whole vanity case is crafted froom sterling silver hallmarked 'Gucci 925'. The lid & base have the most beautiful hand chaste borders & the sterling silver is decorated with an etched pattern which is continued on the inner lids & lipstick holder. Set atop the lid is a gorgeous sterling silver knight in shining armour riding his magnificent silver horse. Both the knight & his steed are set with marcasite - none of the stones are missing. The detail is amazing & a sense of the determined knight & spirited horse are captured perfectly. The knight & his steed are set atop a silver gilt shield surrounded by another hand chaste border. The armour protecting the horse is enamel made to look like malachite. The interior contains a framed mirror, a sprung lipstick and two powder wells with a swans down puff in each. Another compartment is suitable as a card or paper money holder.
Measures 5 1/2" x almost 4" & weighs 429.8 grams.
JACKIE & THE GUCCI JACKIE O BAG
In the 1960s the interlocking G was an eye-catching design feature which is instantly recognisable. It is said that this logo was designed to honour Guccio Gucci after his death.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis adored her Gucci bag and was seen with it so often that it is named after her.
During this decade stores were opened in London, Paris, Palm Beach & Beverly Hills.
Collaborations with esteemed Italian silversmiths ensured that the brand occasionally created vanity cases known as minaudiere.
GUCCI MINAUDIERE BY ANTONIO FALLACI
This futuristic sterling silver minaudiere was made c.1960 by master silversmith Antonio Fallaci for Gucci.
Superbly made, the whole case including the interior is decorated with the most attractive & interesting satinised effect. Contrasting smooth silver edges & a unique thumb catch add to the sleek appeal of this rare vanity.
INTERIOR OF STERLING SILVER GUCCI MINAUDIERE
The interior contains are large framed mirror, two compartments and bright red lipstick in a sprung lipstick holder. One compartment is for face powder and the other was originally for cigarettes, paper money & valuables. Just in front of the mirror is a comb holder. The case is fully hallmarked '925' sterling silver & signed 'GUCCI'. The marker's mark '356 FI'.
Measures almost 7" X almost 2/3" & weighs 464.9 grams.
In the 1970's the Gucci expansion continued and stores were opened in the Far East. Tokyo and Hong Kong featured in this global expansion and the first Gucci ready to wear range was launched.
In 1994 Tom Ford was appointed to the position of Creative Director at Gucci.
By the end of the 1990's Ford's vision and leadership had increased sales by 90%.