Guccio Gucci

Guccio Gucci biography

Born: Florence, Italy, 1881
Died: Milan, Italy, 1953

Designer Biography Guccio Gucci

Rodolfo and Guccio Gucci, Florence store late 1940. Courtesy of Gucci

The son of an Italian merchant, Guccio Gucci left Italy to travel to Paris and London in 1898. Gaining an inspiration and understanding of the cities sophistications and culture, while in London, Gucci worked as the maitre d’ at the Savoy Hotel. On his return to Florence, Gucci started to sell saddles and saddlebags, but due to the rise in automobiles, demand for horse products fell, resulting in Gucci branching out into other accessories.

In 1921, Guccio Gucci founded a leather goods company and opened a small luggage store in Florence. With the designs featuring inspiration from London and local master craftsmanship from Tuscan artisans, his reputation built quickly.

During the 1930s, the labels success continually grew. International clients’ would throng to the Florence boutique which now provided bags, trunks, gloves, shoes and belts. With many of his clients’ horse-riding aristocrat, a demand for riding gear led Gucci to create the Horsebit icon. The thirties also saw Gucci create the loafer shoe with a gilded snaffle in 1932 and the business expand with a boutique opening in Rome.

Rodolfo and Guccio Gucci, Florence store late 1940. Courtesy of Gucci

In the forties Gucci experimented with different materials. With a lack of foreign suppliers, Gucci played with hemp, linen and jute. His most notable innovation was burnishing cane to create the handle of the Bamboo Bag, which was inspired by a saddle’s shape.

Gucci and his wife, Aida Calvelli had raised six children, and upon Gucci’s death in 1953, four of his sons; Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo took over the business. Rodolfo managed the company’s Italian interests, overseeing the opening of a store in Milan, while Vasco supervised operations in Florence. Aldo moved to New York, where he opened Gucci’s first boutique outside of Italy.

The fifties also saw another equestrian inspiration for the brand with its green red green web stripe created, derived from a traditional saddle girth. With the new leadership disputes began over inheritance, stock holdings and day to day operations, however despite the family fighting the business still carried on successfully.

By the sixties Gucci’s products were renowned for their timeless designs, enticing iconic stars. Jackie Kennedy carried the Jackie O shoulder bag, Grace Kelly personally requested the design of the Flora silk print scarf, and Liz Taylor, Peter Sellers and Samuel Beckett all wore the unisex Hobo bag.

The iconic double G interlocking logo, created by Guccio Gucci was adopted mid sixties and by the end of sixties business had expanded, opening stores in London, Palm Beach, Paris and Beverly Hills.

During the seventies the company continued its international expansion, conquering the Far East, opening stores in Tokyo and Hong Kong. The label also developed its first ready-to-wear collection featuring shirts and buttons with the interlocking Gucci logo. The new designs made Gucci famous, idolized for its mix of innovative style and Italian quality.

In 1977 the Beverly Hills flagship store was revamped with a private gallery. Privileged VIPs including Rita Hayworth and Michael Caine were invited to browse exclusive designs.

In 1981 Gucci presented its first ever runway show in Florence. The following year with the business in financial issues, Gucci became a public limited company. With this, leadership passed to Rodolfo’s son, Maurizio Gucci.

In 1987 investment company Investcorp began buying into Gucci, leading to their entire purchase of the company in the early nineties.

In 1989, Dawn Mello president of Bergdorf Goodman was hired to inject new life into the company. As new creative director, in 1992 Mello kick started the Gucci rebirth with reinterpretations of the company’s bestsellers including the bamboo bag and loafers. However, it wasn’t until 1994 when Tom Ford was hired, that the label really returned to its former success.

Domenico De Sole was appointed CEO of the company in 1995, transforming Gucci into a fully public company.

Credits are courtesy of Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot

Haven given the label glamour, and turning the brand into a celebrity must have, Ford left Gucci in 2004. Succeeding him, three designers; Alessandra Facchinetti, John Ray and Frida Giannini. With Giannini appointed sole creative director in 2006, the company was named the most desirable luxury brand in the world by Nielsen the following year.

At the beginning of 2010 Gucci launched its first children’s collection. Highlighting the labels quality, the line was made exclusively in Italy.

An iconic fashion house, Gucci offers timeless luxury and Italian excellence. Gucci oozes fashion authority with its careful pairing of modernity and heritage, resulting in inn

ovative designs with desirable craftsmanship.

Guccio Gucci biograhpy


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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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