A Modest Beginning
It’s hard to believe that such a prestigious international fashion icon had such humble beginnings! In 1906, Guccio Gucci started a small saddlery shop in Florence, Italy. Born into a family with a history of leather making, Guccio was a talented leather craftsman with an eye for European design flair.
Guccio started out designing leather horseman bags during the days of horse-drawn carriages. As the modes of transportation evolved, he eventually expanded his offerings to include premium leather luggage. It wasn’t until 1938 that the first Gucci retail shop opened its doors in Rome on the Via Condotti. Many of the original products sold at that first shop were handcrafted by Guccio himself.
The universally recognizable Gucci leather bag with its bamboo handle was first introduced to the fashion world in 1947. Several years later, the brands distinctive red striped webbing became another of its hallmarks. The 1950s was a banner decade for the Gucci brand, during which Guccio developed many of the timeless classics that remain popular today. In addition to legendary handbags, he continued to craft luxury travel pieces, footwear, ties, and other accessories.
When founder Guccio Gucci died in 1953, his sons capitalized on his stellar
reputation by opening stores in several prominent cities throughout the world, including Beverly Hills, Paris, Palm Beach, London, and Tokyo. Throughout the 1960s, the brand enjoyed celebrity-endorsed prominence as such notable figures as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Peter Sellers, and Jackie Kennedy were seen wearing Gucci handbags and apparel. Rodolfo Gucci even designed the custom Flora foulard especially for Grace Kelly. The famous GG logo was developed to commemorate the memory of founder Guccio Gucci and continues to be the company’s trademark today.
In spite of the fashion house’s prestigious image and international brand recognition, internal conflict and mismanagement threatened the company’s welfare. The Gucci family was notorious for clashing personalities and rash business decisions. By the late 1970s, the fashion house was dangerously close to bankruptcy. One of the brothers, Maurizio Gucci, eventually sold the struggling business to the holding company Investcorp.
A New Beginning
It wasn’t until the 1990s, when Tom Ford was named Gucci’s new CEO, that the fashion house enjoyed a resurgence of its original popularity and prestige. Ford’s chic new collection in 1995, combined with the pop-culture appeal of celebrity endorsements by Madonna and Drew Barrymore, helped the brand regain its sense of exclusivity. Today, it is a publicly traded company with a diverse array of designer handbags, luggage, wallets, sunglasses, apparel, colognes, and footwear, among other offerings.
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Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages and edits a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publishers.
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