house of gucci: alluring history & emblematic designs

House of Gucci: Alluring History & Emblematic Designs

Gucci is arguably one of the most renowned Italian luxury brands, with a history as enticing as its spellbinding designs in equal measure. From daring creations to going through family feuds, bankruptcy and even murder, Gucci has stayed an exciting subject in the eyes of its audience and reinvented how a luxury house progresses to glamorous success. Though the house had surprisingly humble beginnings, starting out as an equestrian and travel luggage brand, Gucci has grown to become a hallmark of contemporary, desirable luxury and innovative savoir-faire still today.

Read on to find out more about the alluring Gucci brand history and learn where to shop some of its rarest vintage designs to hold onto the house’s luxury and legacy like a true Gucci collector.

History of Gucci

Founding the Luxury Powerhouse

Guccio Gucci founded Gucci in 1921 in Florence, Italy. The founder of the luxury fashion house was reportedly inspired to create the brand when he worked as a luggage porter in one of the most elite hotels in London. Transporting the luggage of the high-class and aristocratic guests, it was there that he gained an understanding of his first clientele, their needs and expectations in leather goods. He returned to his hometown to start a business in leather goods and specialized in travel luggage. Gucci later added saddlery and equestrian products that exuded craftsmanship and started getting noticed by the right crowd. Excelling in the craft, Gucci opened his first store in Florence.

Growing into a Family Business and Gucci’s Signature Diamond Print

Gucci had expanded into a family business with Gucci’s three sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, as the brand kept gaining a reputation in the luxury landscape. Faced with a shortage of leather supply in 1935 due to sanctions against Italy, Gucci was renowned for leaning into other leather alternatives such as woven canapa and hemp and along came the creation of the signature Gucci interconnected dark brown diamonds print.

Picking Up in World War II and the Infamous Green-Red-Green Stripe

Another material constraint after World War II caused the birth of Gucci’s trademark pigskin and the first (now instantly recognized) saddle-like bamboo handle Gucci bag.

In 1951, Gucci expanded its territories, branching out into Milan and the U.S., and the opulent Green-Red-Green stripe was incorporated as the luxury house’s synonymous aesthetic hallmark.

In 1953, Guccio Gucci passed away at the age of 71, not very long after opening a branch in New York City at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in honor of the time he worked as a porter. But the fashion house carried on the legacy of the founder thanks to his heirs. The brand continued to flourish globally, gaining the attention of high-profile celebrities including Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, who was photographed carrying the Gucci bamboo handle bag.

The Horsebit Loafer, the Jackie Bag and Celebrity Influences

The same year as the treasured founder passed, the Horsebit Loafer was created with its signature double ring and bar and later released in 1953. And in 1955, the iconic Gucci Horsebit bag was introduced and became one of the most recognized designs of the house with its double D rings.

The Gucci Jackie bag history started when the first lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy, was spotted wearing the slouchy G1907 Gucci bag, which the house instantly renamed ‘The Jackie’ as a tribute to her.

In the early 60’s, the first Gucci logo was created with the famous double G to represent the founder’s name initials, used on bags as a bag clasp and printed on all the brand’s products, making way to the evolution of the Gucci logo history.

Gaining celebrity status, the first Gucci scarf, the Gucci Flora scarf, was created as a gift for Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco from Rodolfo Gucci in 1966. In 1975, Gucci expanded its métiers with its first Fragrance line, Gucci No. 1 by Guy Robert.

The 1980s for Gucci and the House’s Drama Era

In 1981, Gucci debuted its first ready-to-wear collection, where the Gucci “Flora” print was the main feature of the garments. Ever since, the brand had been cursed with family feuds and mismanagement as the grandsons took rein and started fighting about who would be in charge, which caused the brand’s success to take a downward spiral. In the end, Maurizio, Rodolfo Gucci’s son, acquired leadership after his father’s death and forced his cousins out of the company.

Maurizio struggled to sustain Gucci’s legacy and success, and the period was filled to the brim with family disputes, tax evasion accusations and assassinations. The end of the 1980s marked the history of the company “Investcorp” acquiring nearly half of Gucci and later in the 1990s to be sold entirely by Maurizio Gucci, cutting the family ties to the brand. He was murdered later in 1995.

Tom Ford Taking Over

In 1990, American designer Tom Ford took over as Gucci’s ready-to-wear designer and later, the house’s creative director. His sleek and minimal first collection for Fall 1995 restored Gucci's allure in the luxury fashion scene, and his era and work were credited for bringing Gucci’s reputation back to the opulence that the brand was always renowned for.

Gucci Becoming Part of Kering

Powerhouses LVMH and PPR (now known as Kering), who both desired the fashion house within their spheres, engaged in conflict in the late 1990s. Even though then-CEO Domenico De Sole resisted this, LVMH started quietly buying Gucci stock. PPR swiftly became a significant stakeholder in Gucci before the business could fully seize control, where Gucci is still today. Frida Giannini was hired by Ford as the head of accessories before departing in 2004 owing to problems with PPR (Kering).

In 2006, Giannini was appointed the brand's most recent Design Director, guiding it towards elegance by emphasizing the famed Flora print rather than the double G monogram.

Alessandro Michele X Gucci and Gucci as Of Late

Alessandro Michele was appointed as Gucci's new creative director in 2015 after Giannini left in 2014. After working for the company as an accessories designer for 12 years, Michele created a new menswear line in less than a week. In Milan, he launched his first Gucci Fall 2015 womenswear line. His first runway collection was a big success in the fashion industry, despite him being an unknown designer at the time.

Michele combined Gucci's storied past with his unconventional and one-of-a-kind aesthetic. His passion for richness and extravagance has permeated the entire fashion house. Even in 2017, it was revealed that Michele's direction had led Gucci to record sales. A completely new group of consumers was drawn to Michele's romantic vision of 21st-century luxury.

After seven years as Gucci's creative director, Alessandro Michele made his departure known in November 2022.

In January 2023, Sabato De Sarno was announced as Creative Director of Gucci and was said to present his Milan Women’s Fashion Week runway collection in September 2023.

A reference in the world of luxury, Gucci has successfully represented the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship and continues to cater to the modern and contemporary realm with an innovative, vigilant and bold vision.

Emblematic Vintage Gucci Bags at WGACA

In the luxury fashion industry, designer handbags age like fine wine and circulate with a story. If you’re looking for authentic, pre-owned vintage Gucci bags, why not browse a collection of meticulously picked rare Gucci designs in a pristine state? Explore some of WGACA’s Gucci picks and add a touch of vintage luxury fitting a historic brand legacy as Gucci’s.


Collecting this bamboo handle Gucci tote bag is a celebratory nod to Gucci’s equestrian roots. Its spacious interior and nude colorway makes it a go-to everyday bag and the Gucci bamboo top handle adds the house’s signature elegant twist.


If you’re looking for a vintage statement bag that screams Gucci, this is the one for you. From the Tom Ford Gucci Fall 2004 collection that depicts the brand’s flourish era to the gold-tone bamboo shoulder link straps that’s a signature emblem of Gucci. The luxe Gucci shoulder bag's dazzling purple metallic hue and python leather, let alone the bold embellished double dragon head hardware, could accentuate your ensemble for any occasion.


Gucci belt bags have always been an iconic, archival style in the fashion world. For laid-back fits and on-the-go errands, sport this vintage Gucci belt bag and combine functionality with the original GG canvas elevated feel and the yellow accented pop of color.


A historical Gucci icon, this re-introduced model of the Gucci Jackie bag is rendered in subtle pink leather and a piston-lock closure front-and-center. This romantic shoulder bag silhouette with an adjustable strap is elegant yet versatile enough to take you from white tee and denim morning strolls to little black dress evening dates.


A classic GG canvas print slouchy model, this Gucci Sukey bag is large enough to fit all your essentials and refined enough to elevate your outfit. With its dark brown leather trim and beige background, this vintage tote bag is a go-to for a timeless and chic companion.


Classic and now trendy, wear your Gucci Boston to lend sophistication to any look with a bag that’s elegant for everyday wear and capacious for weekend travels.


The GG Marmont Matelassé mini bag has a softly structured yet roomy design that renders the bag an enduring staple in your wardrobe. The bag’s quality, size and versatility make this Gucci Matelassé leather shoulder bag a choice you won’t regret.


Originating from the house’s archive, the Gucci Soho Disco Bag is one of the brand’s signature silhouettes to date. Worn as a shoulder or a crossbody bag, embrace the intersection of vintage design with a daring and avant-garde color combination of pink and red.