( Image courtesy of: http://www.sociallyvogue.com/guccio-gucci.html )
“We know an awful lot about the clothes, pearly yachts, luxury cheekbones and vague, glazed beauty that clings to the House of Gucci – but what about the gentleman himself?”
I wanted to dedicate some words to Guccio Gucci (shouldn’t have drunk that third Negroni when thinking of names, Mrs Gucci.) We know an awful lot about the clothes, pearly yachts, luxury cheekbones and vague, glazed beauty that clings to the House of Gucci – but what about the gentleman himself? Who was the bloke?
I thought I’d supply a little breakdown, revealing the bread and butter of Gucci, who didn’t always resemble a rubber, garden gnome.
There is so much glitz and wealth that surrounds his name that it veils the fact that one day he must have been a young man who shopped for shampoo and tomatoes and loved his mother and played football with his friends on weekends.
Lets glide back a few years, to when he was merely starting out and selling leather bags to horsemen in the 1920s. Apparently, he only picked the best craftsmen he could find, which can’t have been that hard as no one in Florence at that time was distracted by Facebook, Twitter or Excel Vertical Look-Up. It was during a time when real craftsmanship was valued. After some years in Florence, Guccio threw his hands up in the air, exclaiming one evening in 1938, over limoncello and in front of his Nonna that he was expanding his business to Rome, where Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo would accompany him: his sons of course! (Did you think an army of wizard-elves from the North Pole? Don’t be silly.)
“He only picked the best craftsmen he could find, which can’t have been that hard as no one in Florence at that time was distracted by Facebook, Twitter or Excel Vertical Look-Up”
Zoom in a few years later to 1951 and Gucci had returned North to Milan, the big fashion pie, to open a store, not long before sashaying overseas to Manhattan.
In recent years, his revenue has reached a hideous €2.2 billion, and you may wonder if people are getting their money’s worth as a lot of the skimpier dresses have been compared to ‘strips of luxury handkerchief’s’ that may or may not cover your nipples should you wobble just a little. (Perhaps the wobbling type aren’t allowed anywhere near the stores come to think of it).
Gucci is “Quite possibly the world’s most famous luxury brand” for both men and women’s clothing – however it is the handbags which deserve a shout-out – they owe their humble origins to the well-oiled craftsmanship honed to create luxurious saddles for Florentine bottoms in the 1920s. There is history there that one doesn’t see in a handbag on the more modern high-street shelves. Unfortunately, the gold shells made of python bladder and rhino toe do not attract me even if the price tag wasn’t an issue – I prefer the subtler ones that hark back to the rough, leather saddles.
“Handbags…owe their humble origins to the well-oiled craftsmanship honed to create luxurious saddles for a Florentine bottoms in the 1920s”
For me, the simpler leather ones have a touch of the youthful, rugged men of the Florentine streets who a young Guccio Gucci rallied into his atelier. I imagine the golden dusk from the dusty piazza on the faces of the craftsmen after work, sharing a glass of chilled Peroni and eyeing up the languishing daughters of the town. Think Romeo and Juliet in real Verona.
I only say this as I think fashion houses should draw out more of the history of the brand, which reflect the alluring quality of the product, rather than shoving out pictures of an emaciated Lindsey Lohan with stiff stuck on blond hair to the world, clutching the enormous accessory. It shouldn’t be ‘dullened’ or cheapened by the fleeting, rich who can get away with murder, but rather maintained as luxurious, not just expensive, but rich in history and, dare I say it, romance.