Guccio Gucci is a truly self made millionaire with very interesting life history. When the first Gucci leather suitcase was sold, Gucci was over 40 years old. He, a son of a leather maker, sailed off warm Florence in his late teens to avoid a fate of his father who worked all his life making leather suitcases, belts and other accessories. Who would have known that, 20 years later, Guccio himself would revolutionize the luxury leather bags industry and solidify name Gucci in fashion history forever.
When energetic Guccio left Florence, he was looking for adventure. Best city for excitement was London. In London he got his first job at the Savoy Hotel. During his 20 year career there he kept many titles. Dish washer, waiter, bellhop, concierge were among the few. The pinnacle of his career was an elevator attendant. You may not think of this position as much, but just to give you an idea, Savoy was the first hotel in the world to operate electric elevator. This very same hotel was also the first to install electric lights and telephone prototypes. It was the most central and luxury hotel in Europe in early 20th century. It was the preferred overnight spot for all the celebrities and politicians who visited London. So ambitions Guccio had an honour to give an elevator ride to such famous people as Claude Monet, Merlin Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill and countless others. Of course, Guccio, given the frequency of celebrity encounters, was a true Italian networker. He made connections. He observed and learned their styles, their clothing, accessories, jewellery, manners and habits. And then, in 1921, when Gucci was 40 years old, he was let go due to age that was considered unfit for such an important role as elevator attendant.
All savings from the years of hotel service Gucci decided to put towards his own business. He came back to Florence and surprisingly, his father’s business didn’t seem as boring as before any more. With highest quality in mind Guccio Gucci starts production of luxury suitcases bearing the brand name Gucci and symbol GG. Targeting the richest population of Florence Gucci factory quickly turned into producing horse harnessing. Horse sports at that time were considered elite, thus only richest people quickly recognized Gucci brand and with little competition Gucci factory lifted to the new level.
Gucci factory was inherited by Guccio’s 4 sons who in tight collaboration ran a business to expansion worldwide. During the World War II an iconic bamboo purse handle was born. Since war was a tough time Gucci wanted to create something that resembled humbleness while remaining in high class. Grace Kelly loved the invention so much that she was literally paired with the bamboo purse for years.
Gucci was the first Italian company to open a store in Manhattan in 1953. Guccio suddenly passed away the same year and his sons continued the family trait and eventually opened a fashion house under Gucci brand. The last 20 years of the corporation were rather shaky. Gucci family lost control over the company, one of heirs was brutally murdered and up until recently company almost lost its glory. And then was Tom Ford and now Frida Giannini and what we know of Gucci today.
One last fact is worth mentioning. Gucci was among the first, and today is the oldest Italian fashion company to produce its own Gucci glasses and sunglasses collections. Gucci sunglasses are over 30 years old! No wonder they are so classy and stunning.