The humble beginnings of Gucci are well known throughout the fashion community, but many people who own Gucci products aren’t familiar with the man in the background – or his catchy first name! Gucci might even be the first fashion-oriented word you heard when you were young, but do you know the real story behind the G’s?
Guccio Gucci was born in 1881, in Florence, Italy.
In 1921, Gucci opened his first shop in Florence, specializing in leather goods, and quickly built a reputation for quality, hiring skilled craftsmen to work in his shop. This is how the House of Gucci was founded.
During the 1930s, Gucci became inspired by horse racing, a popular pastime, and started designing the hardware for his leather goods to resemble horse bits and stirrups.
In 1932, Gucci created the loafer shoe with a gilded snaffle. To date, these shoes are the only footwear on display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
In 1947, Gucci introduced the brand’s first iconic bag, the “Bamboo bag”, a saddlebag featuring bamboo handles, which is still a company mainstay.
Guccio and his wife Aida Calvelli had a large family, six children in all, though only his sons – Aldo, Ugo, Vasco, and Rodolfo – would later take roles in leading the company toward popularity – and a LOT of drama! (Want the dirt? Read the books listed below to learn more about it!)
After Guccio’s death in 1953, Aldo, along with his brothers, took over and helped promote the company internationally, as it opened boutiques in London, Paris and New York.
In the early ’90s, Gucci’s image was tarnished when copies of its wares began popping up everywhere. To restore the company’s luxury image, the company appointed American designer Tom Ford as Artistic Director in 1994, a position he kept until 2005. Ford is largely credited with turning the Gucci brand around.
The Gucci brand involves more than just their eponymous fashion house. Gucci Group is a collection of designers who specialize in high fashion luxury retail. The members include Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen – what a club!
Today, Gucci is run by Patrizio di Marco, president and CEO of Gucci, Frida Giannini, the main designer for Gucci, and Robert Polet, who is president and CEO of the Gucci Group.