The history of the Gucci brand
Their logo is currently one of the most recognizable symbols around the world. But alone history of the Gucci brand, is synonymous with wealth, elegance and timeless beauty. There is no doubt why the company owes so many customers from almost every corner of the world.The Italian fashion house offers the highest quality collections of clothes and accessories, hand-sewn in Italy. Sophistication, subtlety and unique aesthetics of the products have been building the company’s good name for over a hundred years.So, despite numerous scandals involving the Gucci name and crises within the family, which almost led the company to bankruptcy, today its position seems to be intact. Gucci is not only a creative force in the fashion industry, but also responds to current events of international importance. But what did the brand’s path to the top actually look like?
The history of the Gucci brand – who is behind the empire of the Italian fashion house?
The beginning of a brand is a person Guccio Gucci. The son of a Florentine merchant, he spent his youth earning extra money in his uncle’s factory producing straw hats. Soon, forced by a business crisis, he decided to seek his fortune in London. There, he experienced luxury for the first time at the exclusive Savoy Hotel, where he applied for a job as a porter.At first he was dismissed without notice, but after some time and many language lessons he managed to get a job as a dishwasher. However, after just half a year, he was promoted to hotel bellboy. Guccio was handsome, well-dressed and extremely charming, which quickly attracted wealthy travelers. Although the work in the hotel itself was rather modest, it became a source of inspiration for the future designer.It all started with hats and bagsGucci spent hours watching men in elegant suits and women dripping with luxury, and he felt elated. However, he was most impressed by various bags, hat boxes and trunks with initials. It was then that he made plans to set up his own shop with leather accessories.After four years working in England, Gucci returned to his homeland. There he fell in love with Aida Calvelia and soon the couple got married. Just before he began working on achieving his goal, the war began and he was conscripted into the army. And the history of the Gucci brand may have turned out differently if not for a certain other factory… Franzi episode After it is finished he was employed by the Milanese company Franzi, dealing in the production of luxury leather goods. And it was there that he gained the necessary knowledge on how to independently manage a company. Then he was truly ready to put the plan into action.And so, in 1921, the first store under the Gucci name was opened at number seven on Via della Vigna Nuova in Florence. Along with this, the first, but not the last, logo of the brand was created – the silhouette of a boy in livery and a cap with a suitcase in one hand and a carry-on bag in the other. “House of Gucci” becomes a small, actually one-person company.
Gucci’s multi-generational fashion business
Guccio had five children: a daughter, Grimalda, and four sons – Enzo (died in childhood), Aldo, Vasca and Rodolfo. He also adopted his wife’s illegitimate son, Ug, although apparently they were never close. His absolute favorite was his eldest son, Aldo, whom he saw as the future heir of the company.In 1938, Aldo persuaded his father to open a second boutique in Rome. Gucci is becoming a family business and having its headquarters now and also in the capital, it is gradually gaining popularity. 14 years later, just before his death, Guccio witnesses the creation of the first store outside Italy. Boutique in New York contributes significantly to profit growth.Famous actors and GucciTwo years later, Gucci releases a product that makes the company a status symbol. A bag is made of pigskin with a polished bamboo handle. This model was made famous by the famous Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman in the film “Journey to Italy”. In addition, at a similar time, the numbering of all products was introduced, and the logo of the time was changed – the poor boy with luggage was replaced by a majestic knight in armor. All this contributes to the growing interest in Gucci.The GG insignia quickly becomes a favorite of celebrities and even royal families (Elizabeth II eagerly visited the Gucci boutique in Florence). For the next 30 years, Aldo developed its business dynamically, opening boutiques in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Hong Kong. He is even appointed the first Italian fashion ambassador by then-President Kennedy.Women played a big role in this storyInterestingly, in Aldo’s life, apart from the company, there was always room for women. Despite his marriage to opera singer Olwen Price, years later Aldo’s affair with a saleswoman at one of Gucci’s stores – the beautiful Bruna Palombo – came to light. As divorces were legal in Italy only from 1974, fearing a scandal, the couple hid the existence of their daughter, Patricia, from the press for 10 years.Despite scandals in the designer’s personal life, the 1960s were a peak period for the company. Then the biggest movie stars – Grace Kelly and Rita Hayworth – visit the store in via Condotti. And that is why the history of the Gucci brand is so colorful and very interesting!
Synonymous with luxury and international fame, Gucci
The products offered by Gucci are becoming incredibly famous all over the world. The logo changes its form for the last time – it is simplified to two letters G, overlapping each other. In addition to the accessories themselves, the famous Gucci loafers began to be produced, and soon also jewelry. At that time, Aldo was assisted in managing the business by his three sons – Paulo, Roberto and Giorgio.The first problems within Gucci will appear in the 1970s. Aldo’s sons begin to gradually strive for independence in the company. The first conflicts arise due to each brother’s attempts to push forward his own ideas. Paulo is the most eager for change. He proposes expansion of Gucci with the Gucci Plus brand, when this idea fails, he demands the creation of Paulo Gucci as a competitive company on the market. This is met with open disapproval by other family members.Family problemsIn 1983, Aldo’s brother Rudolfo Gucci died in Milan. After his death, his son Maurizio takes over most of the shares in the company, becoming one of the main managers. Over time, the situation gets out of control and a 6-year legal battle begins between Maurizio and Aldo for full supervision of the Gucci empire. Money becomes a catalyst for conflict. The dispute is gaining momentum.Maurizio’s huge shares are frozen, and Aldo Gucci, accused of tax embezzlement in 1986, goes to prison in Florida, where he spends a year. Maurizio, who barely escaped the law, escapes to Switzerland three years later. In 1989, having got rid of competition from Aldo, he was appointed president of Gucci.
Fashion and financesThe original history of the Gucci brand is not so colorful, as Maurizio’s management brings only losses to the company. He is accused of incompetence in financial management and spending huge sums of money on headquarters in Florence and Milan.The well-being of the company begins to be questioned and the future of the empire is no longer certain. It is noted that in the years 1991 to 1993, the finances of the Gucci brand were in negative territory for the first time, as shown by the history of the Gucci brand. The situation became stalemate when, in 1987, the Arab company Investcorp bought the shares of Paolo and then Ald, who, as a result of his nephews’ actions, was removed from managing the company. Already in 1993, Investcorp becomes the sole owner of Gucci.As the history of the Gucci brand shows, less than two years later Maurizio was killed by a gunshot, being at that time the last heir to the Gucci dynasty working in the company. The person who ordered the murder turned out to be his ex-wife – Patrizia Reggiani, called the black widow of the Gucci house. The motive for the crime is allegedly anger over the loss of his fortune after the divorce and jealousy of Maurizio’s new relationship. Interestingly, the stories of this murder can be seen on screens in Ridley Scott’s latest biographical film, House of Gucci “.New quality – new chapterDomenico de Sole becomes CEO of Gucci Group after Maurizio’s death. However, he is not a new figure in the company. Already in the 1980s, he worked in a law firm, where he established cooperation with Gucci and helped in corporate restructuring. Then, since 1984, he has been the CEO of Gucci America. The years 1994-2004 were a period of renewed prosperity for the company.During his tenure, De Sole brought the brand out of bankruptcy and rebuilt its importance on the international arena. Gucci is once again becoming the luxury conglomerate that included Yves St. Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and Sergio Rossi.
From now on, everything prestigious is associated with the history of the Gucci brand
A breath of freshness is introduced to Gucci by Frida Giannini, who was hired in 2004. An accomplished fashion designer brings Gucci shows to a new level. At the same time, Alessandro Michele, who has held the position of creative director since January 2015, redefines luxury with the Gucci label. The Italian promotes surreal aesthetics, surprising the audience with each presentation of a new collection.This is why today’s Gucci is associated with an incredibly accurate balance between beauty and controversy. Currently Guccio Gucci S.p.A. is a subsidiary of the French Kering holding, which brings together producers of branded products. Everything indicates that after years of family quarrels, Gucci has finally entered calmer waters.