Unmistakably Gucci: A History April 19 2022
When I think of Italian designers, Gucci is usually the first one to pop into my mind. The name is not only fun to say, but just thinking about it I can smell Italian leather! Purely putting a “Made in Italy” sticker on a bag can’t evoke that type of feeling. There is a reason Gucci has existed for so long and is still synonymous with style and sophistication. Gucci still gets people excited because Gucci has adapted to the needs of their clientele. Regardless of the restrictions of the times, even while the brand evolved, it always managed to still be unmistakably “Gucci!”
When Guccio Gucci was a young man, he left his native Florence, Italy and headed to London to work at the Savoy Hotel. There he watched the English elite come and go in their finery and, more importantly for the young Gucci, carrying their elegant luggage made in the classic, sophisticated aesthetic of the British nobility. He returned home to Florence where he knew he could find the skilled craftsmen he needed to make his brand a reality. He opened his own leather goods and luggage company in 1921 and the house of Gucci took off within a few years!
His equestrian-inspired bags, trunks, shoes, and belts were especially popular and the fashion forward international travelers who always made it a point to stop by his store. Gucci developed the iconic horsebit emblem to please his horse-riding aristocratic Italian clients. The horsebit remains a lasting symbol of the Gucci brand, and in the 50’s the Gucci trademark green-red-green web stripe would also come from equestrian inspiration—a traditional saddle girth.
Gucci’s fashion genius really shone through during hard times in Europe. When trade embargoes during World War II made supplies scarce, he adapted his designs to use what was available to him. This lead to such fashion innovations as the Bamboo Bag, a bag with a handle of polished cane—still a favorite! The scarcity of leather lead Gucci to turn to hemp and canvas materials, which he jazzed up with an interconnecting diamond motif, a precursor to today’s double G printed canvas goodies that would show up in the 60’s.
Guccio Gucci passed away in 1953, and his sons took over the business. Regardless of a very rocky period during the company due to family feuds, Gucci has remained a classy and sophisticated brand because it has been able to adapt to the needs and attitudes of the times. For example, when the first lady carries your bag, why not call it the Jackie O and make it a piece of history that endures right along with the fashion icon who carried it? A savvy branding tool that many designers since have used! Whether you carry a current Gucci bag or Classic Vintage Gucci bag, you know you are getting a special piece that will last a lifetime. Be sure to checkout our selection of Vintage Gucci Clothing & Handbags at Rice and Beans Vintage and find your forever piece.