This Gucci ad from 1973 shows the luxury leather goods maker at an interesting time in their history. But first, a little background…
Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, the son of a Florentine hatmaker. Gucci left Florence as a young man and went to London to find work because the family hat business had failed. In London he worked at the Savoy Hotel, where he encountered the traveling rich. After a while he left London to work for Wagon Lit, where he traveled the Continent, again observing the rich passengers and their expensive luggage. Louis Vuitton, perhaps?
All through the 1920s Gucci made luggage and the various leather containers that rich travelers required. By the 1930s Gucci had multiple workshops throughtout Florence making goods for his shop, goods that by that time included shoes and handbags. During World War II when leather became scarce, Gucci turned to canvas, developing a signature printed canvas that led to the famous double-G logo some years later.
In the 1950s the company was inherited by Guccio’s sons and the company began opening stores in large cities in Europe and the US. By the 1960s Gucci was a well-known luxury brand, becoming a favorite of the “jet set”.
Some of the products most closely associated with the Gucci name were developed in the 1960s. Their brightly-colored floral scarves were first made in 1966, after Princess Grace visited the Milan store. The first scarf was presented to her as a gift. Gucci had just begun making leather clothing and now they branched off into silk dresses, made from printed silk in designs similar to the scarves.
1968 brought about the introduction of the ultimate Gucci status symbol, the shoe decorated with the snaffle bit. The double-G monogrammed fabric was brought out in 1969. When the ad above was published in 1973, logo-mania was just about to hit the fashion world. As you can see, Gucci was ready for it!
The Gucci story is told in full by Sara Gay Forden, in her book, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. In other words, it’s a fun read whether or not you are interested in fashion.
More from Gucci next week when I show one of the “It” bags from the past.