The House of Gucci: Fashion Designer

Gucci logo

The House of Gucci, better known as Gucci, is an Italian French-owned iconic luxury goods label. It was founded by Guccio Gucci (1881-1953) in Florence in 1906. It is considered as one of the most famous, prestigious, and easily recognizable fashion brands in the world.

Gucci is also one of the Top 100 Brands cited by BusinessWeek magazine, generating over US$7 billion of revenue worldwide in 2006. It is the second biggest selling fashion brand after LVMH and the biggest selling Italian brand in the world. The House of Gucci belongs to the French conglomerate company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). Gucci has about 425 stores worldwide and it wholesales its products through franchisees and upscale department stores.

Guccio Gucci started the House of Gucci as a small, family-owned leather saddlery shop. He was an exceptional craftsman and began selling leather bags to horsemen in the 1920s. In 1938, Gucci expanded and a boutique was opened in Rome. Guccio was responsible for designing many of the company’s most notable products.

After Guccio’s death in 1953, his four sons (of six children)-Vasco, Aldo, Ugo, and Rodolfo-would play a role in leading the company. Even in Gucci’s fledgling years, the family was notorious for its ferocious infighting, with disputes regarding inheritances, stock holdings, and day-to-day operations of the stores. This led to family divisions and alliances.

Gucci expanded to the Far East in the late 1960s, opening stores in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul. At that time, the company also developed its famous GG logo.

Gucci remained one of the premier luxury goods establishments in the world until the late 1970s, when a series of disastrous business decisions and family quarrels brought the company to the verge of bankruptcy. In 1983, Rodolfo Gucci died and left his 50% stake in Gucci to his son, Maurizio.

He then allied with Paolo Gucci, son of Aldo Gucci, to gain control of the Board of Directors and established the Gucci Licensing Division in the Netherlands. Following the decision, the rest of the family left the company and, for the first time in many years, one man was at the helm of Gucci. Maurizio sought to bury the fighting that had torn the company and his family apart and turned to talent outside of the company for Gucci’s future.

Maurizio formed a creative group consisting of Geoffrey Beene, Calvin Klein, and Tom Ford, with Dawn Mello as the creative director.

The early 1990s is considered as the poorest time in the company’s history, with the company suffering heavy losses and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Maurizio was forced to sell his shares in the company to Investcorp in August 1993. Mello then left the company a year later, and the position of creative director went to Ford, which he held until 2003.

Gucci is currently being lead by Frida Giannini as the creative director. Before taking the role, she had been responsible for designing the brand’s men’s and women’s accessories.

Gucci world offices and headquarters are in Milan, Paris, London, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Honolulu, Tokyo, and Shangha.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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