The name of Gucci brings to mind the two words: opulence and superiority. It is opulent for its expensive high-fashion products that are loved by everyone. And it is superior for its use of top-quality material and craftsmanship that makes only the best pieces for people of any gender and age. No wonder, the logo, monogram, and custom patches.
Today, Gucci is a powerful luxury fashion house with a strong presence in the fashion industry. With more than 250 stores on all continents, it is a leading fashion label with a brand value of $9.2 billion.
Today, we will explore the history of Gucci in our feature of brand profile and trace back the major events in the history of its business:
1921: Gucci Opens Its First Store
It all began in 1921 when Guccio Gucci, who was a son of a leather goods maker, opened a leather goods shop for making fancy leather goods. The majority of his clients were horse riders and travelers. Hs products got instant popularity for their superior quality and durability.
His leather products reflected the traditional element of Italian workmanship and got a phenomenal liking among the locals. The success of his business turned him into a veteran from an upstart and he made efforts to diversify his business which helped scale the business and made it a global brand.
1933: Aldo Gucci Joins Gucci and the Introduction of First Logo
1933 is a significant year in the history of Gucci as it is when the eldest son of Guccio Gucci joined the company. He made some important developments to promote the company and expand its business. The most significant change that he made was the creation of the iconic Gucci logo.
The legend has that the logo was designed by Aldo himself. It showed two interlocked “Gs” which represented the name of Guccio Gucci. It was a stylized logo that used two inward-facing G’s in black font. This logo became the official brand identity of Gucci and replaced its earlier plain wordmark that simply read “GUCCI.”
The logo was visible on the different products of Gucci along with monograms and custom embroidered patches that the company created for various branding purposes. Aldo Gucci also opened the first Gucci store in Rome in 1938.
1935: The Use of Hemp After Embargo and Introduction of Hemp
Gucci suffered a major setback when Italy faced an embargo from the League of Nations. But Gucci didn’t give up and it introduced woven hemp as an alternative to the leather to manufacture its products. The material was made with a print of dark brown diamonds that had the resilience and look of leather. Gucci used this material in its range of suitcases.
1947-the 1960s: The Embargo is Lifted and Gucci Ventures into Apparel Business
Though Gucci has launched the first loafers in 1931, it was not until the 1950s that the company diversified into the clothing industry in full swing. The end of World War II and the ban of embargo paved way for Gucci to include apparel like watches, eyewear, and jewelry in its range of products.
The company entered the clothing market with the production of its iconic bamboo handbag. The handbag used Japanese bamboo as the handle of the handbag. The design of the Bamboo Bag was inspired by the saddle. The Bamboo Bag remained the most popular product by Gucci and got phenomenal liking among the fashionistas and celebrities like Grace Kelly who would carry this bag in public appearances.
1953 is another significant year as Guccio Gucci died and Gucci opened its first international store in New York. The arrival of Gucci on American soil was a watershed moment in the history of Gucci as many American celebrities wore Gucci to make a fashion statement.
American luminaries like Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Sellers were particularly fond of Gucci handbags made from the finest leather. The period between the 1950s and 1960s proved to be a zenith in the history of Gucci as its sales skyrocketed in this era and brought it into the international limelight.
The successful stint in American and European territories led Gucci to open its stores in Asia. The expansion in Gucci was followed by a power battle between the Gucci brothers and a slump in its business.
The 1970s to 1990s: The Downfall and Rise
By the end of the 1960S, Gucci was having hitches in its sales. Part of this downtick in sales was associated with the conflicts between the Gucci brothers who fought for the control of the company. The period between 1983 and 1990 proved to be a dark phase in the history of Gucci as it dealt with legal troubles and the demise of Rodolfo Gucci, the youngest son of Guccio Gucci.
It was in 1990 when Tom Ford joined Gucci that things started to change. He was hired as Chief Designer to make ready-to-wear apparel for women. He redesigned the women’s apparel made by the company and it clicked in the market.
The success of his women’s designs grabbed him the collection for men as well. Within four years, he became the Creative Director of Gucci and the company was riding in success again. In 1994, Tom Ford launched Gucci’s collection for fall 1995 which was received well by both the critics and the masses. By 1995, Gucci had a phenomenal increase of 90% in its sales.
Some of the iconic products that were made during this period were the redesigned loafers that used rainbow colors, jersey dress with a horse-bit belt, and the “It” bag which was redesigned from the original Jackie bag.
2000s to Present: The Rise and Rise of Gucci
Though the 2000s era marked the departure of Tom Ford from Gucci, it did not stop the company to progress and it continued to reach new heights of success. It was also the time when Pinault-Printemps-Redoute acquired 99.4% stakes of Gucci and became its owner.
After Tom Ford left Gucci in 2004 following a rift with the owners, he was replaced by another genius designer Frida Giannin who took over the role as Creative Director for the entire range of Gucci’s products. Under her creative leadership, the company made some crucial changes in the designs of its products. Among the many changes, the most notable was the reintroduction of the Flora print and redesigning of the Bamboo Bag.
Frida Giannin departed from Gucci in 2014 and Alessandro Michele took over as new Creative Director of Gucci. In the saddle of Creative Director, Alessandro Michele made some offbeat designs that impressed the fashion critics and they were a huge success. He contributed an 11% increase in revenue to Gucci.
This was it. I Hope, the history of Gucci gives you a closer look into the evolution of this brand and inspires you as its buyer or as just a learner.