The world famous brand Gucci (Gucci) recently celebrated its ninetieth anniversary. In the history of this brand, as in Italian cinema, there was everything: happy moments of fame and high points, ups and downs, scandals and investigations, the struggle for inheritance, the betrayal of loved ones and so on. Gucci House was a family business, so conflicts and disagreements were inevitable among temperamental relatives.
The founder of the Gucci brand was Guccio Gucci (1881-1953), who in 1921 opened a workshop in Florence for the production of leather suitcases with money earned in London. He worked there as a simple elevator for 10 years at the Savoy Hotel. It was there, when observing the luggage of the guests, he came up with a happy thought to open his own business in the manufacture of high-quality, prestigious suitcases, and then – bags and moccasins.
The first boutique of the Gucci House in Rome was opened in 1938. Gucci’s signature product was a women’s bag with bamboo handles, created in 1947, a red-green striped braid and loafers with metal fasteners.
Gucci brand gained international popularity after the death of Guccio (1953), when his son Aldo opened boutiques in New York, Paris and London, and in the late 1960s – in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Korea. Thanks to his efforts, the assortment of the Gucci Fashion House expanded: silk scarves, watches, perfumes, fur products, and women’s clothing appeared. All products of the Gucci Fashion House were only of excellent quality and focused on customers from the upper layers of society.
For example, the Swiss branch of Gucci Timepieces was engaged in the design and manufacture of jewelry and watches, the prestige of which was undeniable.
As a result of an agreement with American Motors Corporation (AMC), the 1972 AMC Hornet was created with a Sportabout van, luxuriously designed by Gucci Fashion House. In the interior and exterior of the car, branded stripes were used in combinations of green and red with a beige background.
The Kennedy couple contributed to the brand’s fame: Jacqueline wore a Jackie O. shoulder bag, and John often appeared in public in exclusive loafers with metal clasps, which are now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At the same time, Hollywood star Grace Kelly actively used Gucci’s Flora silk scarf in her costume, which also had a beneficial effect on the brand’s popularity.
Another son of Guccio Gucci – Rodolfo – in his youth was a successful actor, starred even with the famous Anna Magnani, but after the war he left this field and began to work in the family business. Perhaps the success of the Gucci House in a Hollywood environment is partly due to Rodolfo, who knew firsthand the tastes of the stars. Gucci’s silk scarf adorned Audrey Hepburn’s head in the movie Roman Vacations, with signature loafers on her feet.
In the late 1970s, Gucci House was one of the most famous luxury goods manufacturing in the world, but due to family troubles and conflicts, he was on the verge of bankruptcy. The decline in brand prestige is largely due to the creation of the Gucci Accessories Collection, whose products in the form of cosmetics bags, key chains, lighters, etc., easily diverged due to price, often faked, which led the company to collapse. By the beginning of the 1990s, due to the mismanagement of one of Guccio Gucci’s grandchildren, Maurizio, and due to uncontrolled sales of licenses to the East, the brand’s prestige fell dramatically.
Fortunately, the head of a large financial company from Saudi Arabia in 1993 ventured to buy the family business from Maurizio Gucci. Since then, the Gucci brand has ceased to be the property of the family.
With the advent of the new owner of the company, the revival of the Gucci brand began. The management of the company was entrusted to Domenico de Solle, and the then-unknown Tom Ford was appointed to the position of chief designer. Thanks to the talents of these personalities, brand products have once again become incredibly popular all over the world. Domenico de Solle bought the licenses of the company all over the world, and Tom Ford created the luxurious, sexually-glamorous style of Gucci. At the end of 1996, Tom Ford was recognized as the best fashion designer of men’s and women’s clothing, and the Gucci brand was one of the most prestigious.
The company is rapidly gaining power: in the last decade of the 20th century, Gucci partially or fully controls such brands as Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, Ermenegildo Zegna, Van Cleef and others. In 1999, it falls into the Guinness Book of Records in the category “The fastest take-off of a fashion house.”