Work has begun on the Palazzo della Mercatanzia in a deserted Piazza Signoria. A new set-up of the exhibition part of the Gucci Garden, the reality dedicated to the history of the Gucci brand which this year turns 100 years old. No one has talked about celebrations to date, but it is to be believed that the anniversary of the fashion house born in Florence in 1921 and today part of the Kering portfolio will not go unnoticed. Ten years ago, for the ninety years of the maison, the then creative director Frida Giannini gave life to this space in Piazza della Signoria, calling it Gucci Museum. There was a big event with stars and celebrities from all over the world. Dedicated to the memory of the brand with a tribute to its archive, the museum in 2018 was renamed by the current creative director Alessandro Michele Gucci Garden and interpreted as a dynamic container where to contaminate the suggestions of the Gucci imaginary with the avant-garde of fashion, cinema, music, art and food. It would not be surprising that the celebrations of the brand started from this place, perhaps in June to coincide with the dates of Pitti Uomo, which blows on the twin birthday of the hundredth edition.

The adventure of Gucci, today the spearhead of the Kering group (in 2020 it climbed the annual Brand Finance ranking of the 50 Italian brands sorted by value originating from image and reputation) starts in Florence from the intuition of Guccio Gucci. A 40-year-old son of a straw hat entrepreneur, who went bankrupt in the early 1900s who, after emigrating to London where he worked as an elevator operator at the Savoy Hotel, returned to Florence as a commercial director in a leather shop, decides to invest his savings in his own business. In 1921 he opened the first travel accessories shop in Via della Vigna Nuova 7. The idea of ​​a fashion product is still far from the creation of a functional and handcrafted accessory, which winks at the Anglo-Saxon aesthetics, and finds shares of market in sophisticated British and American travelers visiting Florence. A correct intuition that immediately leads to the growth of the brand and of the shops in the city and beyond. The small Florentine kingdom expanded in 1923 in via del Parione (then closed in 1934) then at number 11 and 47 in via della Vigna Nuova up to the boutique in via Tornabuoni opened in the late 1960s. With his sons Aldo and Rodolfo, Guccio began to expand in Italy: in Rome in via Condotti in ’38 and in Milan in 1951. the year in which Giovanni Battista Giorgini’s fashion debuted in Florence with the first fashion shows at Casa Torrigiani, events in which Gucci does not participate while benefiting from the image of the city. From here the landing in New York with a boutique on 58th street.

Successes that make production grow, making clear the need to move the old laboratory of Lungarno Guicciardini to via delle Caldaie; until 1971 when, becoming the important volumes, the industrial plant was built in Casellina, Scandicci where the maison’s head quarter is still located today. The products that his company is able to put on the market even after the Second World War speak of the entrepreneurial vivacity of Guccio Gucci. One of them is the bamboo bag, the bag with a bamboo handle and a silhouette inspired by the saddle of horses. In the United States and therefore in Asia the Gucci logo, now in the form of a crest, an armored warrior carrying two suitcases, now a lift boy in homage to Guccio’s professional origins, now with the double G crossed, are imposed. From luggage to footwear with the iconic moccasin to scarves, from green-red-green cord edging, to the use of canvas for bags, the style of the maison appeals to divas and personalities. Now played by Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly wearing the Flora scarf designed by Accornero, now by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis holding the trapezoidal bag still known as Jackie on her arm.

A story of a family business that lasted almost 70 years and was destined to stop in the Eighties due to disputes between the heirs that culminated in the passage of the maison to the Arab Investcorp. Until 1999 when part of the French group Kering. Years of metamorphosis and relaunches, which saw the alternation of renowned CEOs and enlightened creative directors like Tom Ford, Frida Giannini and today Alessandro Michele. Each of them imagined a product that knew how to respond and almost anticipate market needs. Tom Ford with his coveted collections from celebrities reflects the need of the Nineties, Frida Giannini pioneer in the heritage operation, capable of reviving and rediscovering the heritage of the Florentine archive and Alessandro Michele who attracts the very young with his fluid fashion, contaminated and full of citations.

February 27, 2021 | 12:17

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