Few fashion houses are as recognizable as Gucci. From Alessandro Michele‘s maximalist fashion vision to Tom Ford‘s scandalous campaigns during his tenure as creative director, there simply hasn’t been a time when Gucci hasn’t represented the pinnacle of over-the-top glamour, but that wasn’t always the case. Before big names like Harry Styles and Dakota Johnson became the biggest fans of Gucci creations on the red carpet, the luxury Italian brand had much more humble beginnings. In anticipation of the announcement of the new Creative Director of the house, DSCENE team lists all of the designers throughout the years who shaped Gucci as it is today.
Gucci is a high-end Italian fashion house that was established in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. Guccio was born in the Italian village of Florence in 1881. He spent his formative years working in a modest leather goods store where he became passionate about the art of leatherworking. Early in the 1920s, Guccio established a modest leather goods shop in Florence that he named Gucci. The company’s initial focus was on producing premium leather items like purses and luggage. But as time went on, the company started to increase the range of its products to include apparel, shoes, and other high-end things.
In 1932, he created the gold-ringed loafers, which eventually became one of the most popular flat-soled shoes in the fashion world. This timeless piece of footwear brings a touch of elegance to every fashion story, so it’s no surprise that many have started to copy it. Gucci expanded quickly in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming one of the most well-known luxury brands in the world.
The Gucci family’s relationship with the company that bears their name has a lengthy and difficult history. Guccio Gucci’s sons Aldo, Vasco, Ugo, and Maurizio took over the company’s management after his death in 1953. Initially, the brothers operated the company together, but as time went on, disagreements arose on how the business should be run. While Maurizio, who handled production, wanted to concentrate on growing the company’s footprint in Asia, Aldo, who was in charge of the company’s retail operations, wanted to concentrate on growing the company’s presence in the United States. The brothers decided to sell the business to Investcorp in the 1980s when animosity between them broke out. Maurizio worked for the business until 1993. After that, he and his family had a falling out over ownership of the business, and they later disowned him. He was killed in Milan in 1995 as part of a contract killing. After that, the family lost all direct control over the business. It was time for a change in the leadership as well as the design.
Dawn Mello: 1989 – 1995
Dawn Mello had a successful and lengthy career in the fashion industry as an editor and former fashion executive. She was well recognized for her over 20-year employment as Bergdorf Goodman‘s fashion director, a prestigious department store in New York City. Mello played a significant influence in establishing Bergdorf’s one of the most significant shops in the world while she was there and contributed to the establishment of the store as a destination for fashion. Mello, who is renowned for having immaculate taste and the ability to predict upcoming trends, is one of the most significant characters in fashion of the 20th century. She was admired by designers and the fashion press for her acute eye and grasp of what women wanted to wear. She was noted for her ability to create intriguing fashion presentations.
Throughout the latter half of the 1980s and the 1990s, Dawn Mello served as the creative director at Gucci. She was hired to revitalize the brand because it had a history of being stuffy and out-of-date at the time. The responsibility of updating Gucci’s image and making it more applicable to the fashion industry fell to Mello. Mello revamped the business during her leadership, bringing fresh styles, designs, and lines of apparel, footwear, and accessories. She also handled the company’s product line expansion and contributed to Gucci’s development as a luxury brand. Mello’s contributions were crucial in making Gucci one of the most popular and recognizable luxury companies in the world. She introduced innovative designs, such as the bamboo handle purse, and was in charge of establishing the distinctive GG monogram design and reinstating the horsebit hardware as important motifs of the Gucci brand. She received widespread recognition from the fashion world for her contributions, which aided in raising the brand’s sales and prestige.
Tom Ford: 1994 – 2004
Another well-known person who contributed to Gucci’s revival in the 1990s is Tom Ford. In 1994, he was named Gucci’s Creative Director, succeeding Dawn Mello in the position. Ford assisted in advancing the brand’s transition and solidified Gucci’s position as one of the most significant and prosperous luxury brands in the world. Ford changed Gucci’s aesthetic to one that was more contemporary, sensual, and fresh during his time as Creative Director. He revamped every aspect of the company’s product range, including the stores, advertisements, and clothes and accessories. Ford was recognized with rejuvenating the brand’s image and turning it into one of the most sought-after luxury labels in the world. His designs were distinguished by their grandeur and seductiveness.
During his time in Gucci, Tom Ford introduced many novelties. One of the first ones was the introduction of Gucci Flora print, This floral pattern is based on a classic 1960s design and features vibrant blooms. The pattern was applied to a number of products, including apparel, luggage, and accessories, and it quickly became one of the brand’s most recognizable and distinctive motifs. The legendary Gucci Bamboo handbag, which had been a popular design for the brand in the 1950s, was also revived by Ford. The bamboo-handled purse, which has horsebit hardware, quickly became a must-have accessory and is today regarded as an iconic item from the Gucci collection. The bag was also Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis favorite Gucci accessory. A modified version of a 1960s design that Ford revived, the bag had a more structured shape and a bamboo handle. The bag rose to popularity and remained a staple for the company.
Ford also resurrected high-waisted, wide-leg pants and wide-lapel, double-breasted jackets, which were both hallmark pieces of Gucci’s collections and established a significant trend in the fashion world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The sumptuous and luxurious characteristics of Ford’s Gucci collections throughout his tenure were well-known, and he frequently included fur in his creations, such as fur coats and stoles. His use of fur paid homage to the brand’s history while also introducing it to a new, modern audience.
Ford’s efforts at Gucci received high praise and helped the business recover financially. He had a key role in revamping the brand to appeal to younger, wealthier, and more fashion-conscious consumers. The fashion industry recognized Ford’s achievements, and many of his creations for Gucci are still recognizable and significant today. Up until 2004, Ford was the creative director of Gucci. In 2005, he launched his own namesake clothing line.
Frida Giannini: 2002 – 2014
Italian fashion designer Frida Giannini is well recognized for her work at Gucci. In 2002, Giannini started working for Gucci as the company’s accessories designer. Later, she was named the brand’s overall Creative Director, and in 2006, she also took on the role of Creative Director for the company’s women’s wear line. Up until 2014, Giannini held this position and was in charge of directing the creative direction of the company as well as the collection designs for Gucci.
In her designs for Gucci, Frida Giannini was renowned for her use of vivid hues, plush fabrics, and striking prints. She frequently included vintage-inspired components into her creations, taking her cue from the history and historical designs of the brand. Gucci symbol bags like the “Jackie” and “Joy” bags, which are still among the brand’s best-sellers today, were one of her iconic designs. In many of her collections, she also reintroduced the Horsebit detail, which was a distinguishing feature of Gucci’s early designs. Giannini’s tenure saw the expansion of Gucci’s ready-to-wear line as well as the introduction of new categories like menswear, home, and children’s wear, all of which contributed to the brand’s wider appeal and reach.
Alessandro Michele: 2015 – 2022
Alessandro Michele is an Italian fashion designer. His work as the Creative Director of the Italian luxury clothing company Gucci is what made him most famous. He took control of the position in 2015. Michele worked as an accessory designer for Gucci before to joining the company. After Frida Giannini left her position as Creative Director of Gucci, he was named to the position by CEO Marco Bizzarri. Since taking on the role of Creative Director, Michele has introduced a new look to the company, one that is more eclectic and romantic in nature and incorporates both old and modern components. He is renowned for incorporating allusions to art and history into his designs, using strong patterns and vivid colors. Gucci has become more inclusive and representational of all cultures and origins thanks in part to Michele’s use of diverse casting in the company’s campaigns and shows. Critics have welcomed Michele’s new strategy and given it credit for rejuvenating the brand and elevating it to the top of the fashion world.
The Dionysus Bag is one of Michele’s most well-known creations. One of Michele’s initial designs for the company, this shoulder bag has a bamboo handle and a snake-shaped closure. It has grown to be one of Gucci’s most famous and well-liked bags. Also, he presented the Gucci Ace Sneakers. When they were initially released, these low-top shoes with their numerous embroidered patterns were an immediate hit, and they are still a favorite among fashion aficionados today. Following the success of this two pieces Michele continued on and presented the Marmont Bag. One of the most recognizable purses in recent years, this shoulder bag boasts a double G clasp and a matelassé leather finish.
Michele’s out of the box design was once again praised when he introduced the Princetown loafers. These slip-on shoes, which are made of leather and lined with fur, are inspired by a traditional horse-riding moccasin, they became a cult piece since they were launched, they can be seen as a status symbol in the fashion industry. Last, but not the least, the Gucci huge, colorful, gigantic sunglasses, which first gained popularity among Hollywood stars, are now considered legendary due to the numerous celebrities and influencers who have been noticed wearing them.
Since taking over as Gucci’s Creative Director in 2015, Alessandro Michele has developed close bonds with famous people. For red carpet events and other special occasions, he has dressed a number of prominent actors, musicians, and other celebrities. Many of these people have also grown close to him. The brand’s exposure and appeal were raised thanks to Michele’s keen understanding of how to appeal to the younger generation and how to work with influencers and celebrities to promote his products. He also recognized the value of a varied spectrum of representation in advertising campaigns.
His designs are beloved by numerous celebrities, who have frequently worn them on and off the red carpet. For instance, Gucci’s partnerships with A$AP Rocky, Harry Styles, Jared Leto, and many others strengthened the brand’s ties to youth culture and increased consumer interest in the product. Some of these celebrities have grown close to Michele personally, and they have been known to visit his performances, parties, and personal gatherings. Billie Eilish, Dakota Johnson, and Jared Leto, for instance, have become close friends of him and have been spotted at several Gucci events and on his social media. In conclusion, it can be claimed that Alessandro Michele has developed close contacts with famous people, which has aided in making Gucci one of the most well-known and identifiable luxury fashion labels in the world. Some of the biggest celebrities in the entertainment sector have sported his creations, which have come to represent luxury and exclusivity.
The speculations are endless, and the music chair dance of fashion designers is in full swing within major fashion brands. The changes at the helm of fashion brands in the last year came at power brands such as Burberry and Bottega Veneta. While the future of Demna as the Creative Director of Balenciaga is all but certain. Runners for the helm of Gucci are everyone from Tom Ford to Jacquemus.
However, what might be the safest bet in this game is the move the brand executed with the previous shift of power. Just like Michele, the news head of Gucci is likely to be plucked out of the ranks of the existing Gucci designer team. The brand itself was created by the at time anonymous Michele and it may do so again. Gucci’s next show is likely to serve as an announcement of the new creative director, scheduled to come as part of the Milano Fashion Week Men‘s kicking off on January 13th. Gucci is for the first time the opening show of the Milan Fashion Week, this change from their regular time slot is a clear sign the brand is ready for the crucial announcement. Michele himself was announced as the new creative director at the finale of the men’s runway show in Milan.
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