Gucci Timeline

Workshop Florence, 1940’s. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

1921 – Guccio Gucci opened a leather goods company and small luggage store in his native Florence. Though his vision for the brand was inspired by London and the refined aesthetic of English nobility he had witnessed while working in the Savoy Hotel, his goal on returning to Italy was to ally this classy sensibility with the unique skills of his native Italy. Specifically, with the master craftsmanship of local Tuscan artisans.

1930’s – Guccio Gucci started making luggage/suitcases in his workshop in Florence. Within a few years, the label enjoyed such success that the sophisticated international clientele on vacation in Florence thronged to Gucci’s bottega, seeking the equestrian-inspired collection of bags, trunks, gloves, shoes and belts. Many of Guccio’s Italian clients were local horse-riding aristocrats, and their demand for riding gear led Gucci to develop its unique Horse bit icon - an enduring symbol of the fashion house and its increasingly innovative design aesthetic.

In the same decade, Guccio Gucci later created the print which is known as “Diamante’ and is now an icon of the company.

In 1937, he opened the first store on Rome’s Via Condotti.

Craftsmen, Gucci Florence Workshop, 1940’s. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

1940’s - Faced with a shortage of foreign supplies during the difficult years of Fascist dictatorship in Italy, Gucci began experimenting with atypical luxury materials, like hemp, linen and jute. One of its artisans’ most subtle innovations was burnishing cane to create the handle of the new Bamboo Bag, whose curvy side was inspired by a saddle’s shape. An ingenious example of “necessity as the mother of invention”, the bamboo became the first of Gucci's many iconic products. A favorite of royalty and celebrities alike, the bag with burnished handle remains a huge favorite today.

Aldo Gucci, Gucci Rome Store, 1950’s. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

1950’s – During the Fifties, Gucci again found equestrian inspiration with its trademark green-red-green web stripe, derived from a traditional saddle girth. Later in the decade, the iconic Gucci loafer with a horse bit was created. Guccio also designed the Gucci Crest as a way of branding the product. Both the horse bit and the green-red-green web became an instant success and an instantly recognizable hallmark of the brand. Opening stores in Milan and New York, Gucci started to build its global presence as a symbol of modern luxury.

With the passing of Guccio Gucci in 1953, his sons Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo took over the business.

Clark Cable and Aldo Gucci, Gucci Rome Store, 1950's. Credit Courtesy of Gucci

1960’s - Gucci products quickly became renowned for their timeless design and were cherished by iconic movie stars and figures of elegance in the Jet Set era. Jackie Kennedy carried the Gucci shoulder bag, which is known today as the Jackie O. Liz Taylor, Peter Sellers and Samuel Beckett sported the unstructured, unisex Hobo Bag. Gucci’s classic moccasin with Horse bit hardware became part of the permanent collection at the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In the mid-60s, Gucci adopted the legendary interlocking double G logo, creating yet another chic Gucci visual insignia.

In 1966, the first Flora scarf is developed for Princess Grace of Monaco by Vittorio Accornero, a painter and valued consultant of the firm. The Flora print goes on to become an icon of the Gucci brand. The Flora is a remarkable design featuring 43 varieties of flowers, plants and insects.

Gucci continued its expansion abroad with stores opening in London, Palm Beach, Paris and Beverly Hills.

Peter Sellers and Miranda Quarry, London Airport, 1970.
Credit: Courtesy of Popperfoto/Getty Image

1970’s - Gucci continued its global expansion, true to the original aspirations of Aldo, and set its sights on the Far East. Stores opened in Tokyo and Hong Kong. The company developed its first ready-to-wear collections, featuring GG printed shirts or GG buttoned fur-trim coats.

The brand became famous for its unique mix of innovative audacity and legendary Italian quality and craftsmanship. Gucci icons were re-invented in new shapes or colors – burning the GG logo through suede - using ever more luxurious materials, baby crocodile coats with sterling silver snakehead buckles.

In 1977, its Beverly Hills flagship was revamped with a private Gucci Gallery, where privileged VIPs like Rita Hayworth or Michael Caine could browse for $10,000 bags with detachable gold and diamond chain or platinum fox bed throws.

Ursula Andress, Gucci Rome store,1960s. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

1980’s – In 1981 Gucci staged its first ever runway show in Florence.

In 1982, Gucci became a public limited company, and leadership passed to Rodolfo's son, Maurizio Gucci, who held 50 percent of the company’s shares. In 1987, Investcorp, a Bahrain-based investment company, began buying into Gucci, eventually competing the purchase all of the company’s shares in the early Nineties.

Aldo Gucci and Maurizio Gucci, NY, early 1970s. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

1990’s – Gucci is re-launched to global renown through a groundbreaking mix of tradition and innovation. Tom Ford became creative director of Gucci in 1994 and infused the luxury brand with a sense of daring and provocation that resonated with celebrity and the fashion world. The stiletto, and silk cutout jersey dresses with metallic hardware details became instant icons of Ford's uniquely glamorous vision.

Domenico De Sole was appointed CEO in 1995, and Gucci made the highly successful transformation to a fully public company. Gucci is named "European Company of the year 1998" by the European Business Press Federation for its economic and financial performance, strategic vision and management quality. In 1999, Gucci entered into a strategic alliance with Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, transforming itself from a single brand company into a multi-brand luxury group. Tom Ford comes on board to oversee Women’s Ready to Wear.

In 1999, The Jackie ‘O’ is re-launched, opening the era of Gucci’s must-have ‘IT’ bag.

Lady Diana Spencer, Rome 1991. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Exclusive Pix

2000’s – Gucci achieved astounding global success and is named the most desirable luxury brand in the world (Nielsen company, 2007).

Frida Giannini, formerly Creative Director of accessories, is appointed sole Creative Director in 2006. Exploring Gucci’s rich heritage and its incomparable craftsmanship capabilities, Giannini has created a unique vision for Gucci that fuses past and present; history and modernity. Key house icons are reinvented in a fresh new guise, including Flora, La Pelle Guccissima, the New Jackie, and the New Bamboo, as the house’s tradition for innovation accelerates under Giannini.

The company’s partnership with UNICEF, first started in 2005, gains traction each year. A major corporate initiative that dovetails seamlessly with the Italian brand’s global reach, Gucci’s link with UNICEF has helped four million children through the Schools for Africa initiative.

Frida Giannini. Credit: Courtesy of Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot

New Bamboo Bag, FW 2012 collection.
Credit: Courtesy of Gucci
New Jackie Bag, FW 2012 collection.
Credit: Courtesy of Gucci
Flora Scarf. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci

2011 – Gucci celebrates 90 glorious years of tradition, craftsmanship and heritage with the 90th Anniversary of the company. In keeping with the celebratory mood of the year, Gucci launched the Gucci Museo in Piazza della Signoria in Florence. Conceived by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, the GUCCI MUSEO is a living space encapsulating the House's “Forever Now” philosophy. A permanent exhibition from its rich and culturally significant archive, which has been preserved and amplified throughout the years, will be juxtaposed with contemporary art installations supported by the Pinault Foundation. An icon store, bookshop, caffè and gift shop complement the exhibition spaces to create a destination location for visitors.

Gucci Museo Exterior. Credit: Courtesy of Richard Bryant & Gucci

The same year also saw the launch of the 500 by Gucci car - a special edition of the iconic Fiat 500 customized by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini in partnership with Fiat's Centro Stile; the Aqua Riva by Gucci – a made to order yacht and an iconic 1921 collection which celebrated the symbols of the 90 years of Gucci.

Social Space at the Gucci Museo. Credit: Courtesy of Richard Bryant & Gucci

2012: Today, Gucci’s Made In Italy production coupled with a strong social responsibility towards its employees ensures that 100% of its leather goods, shoes and ready to wear are still produced in its Florence workshops, employing over 45,000 people in Italy alone, in addition to Gucci’s own employees.  This handcrafted legacy passed down through generations of artisan families, continues to be an immense source of pride for Gucci and has made a huge contribution to its position as a worldwide leader in the luxury business.

Gucci Historical Archive, Florence, 2011. Credit: Courtesy of Foto Alessio Cocchi & Gucci



June | May | April | February | January : Archive 2012
December | November | October | September | August | July : Archive 2011