Gucci is a fashion house owned by Kering Group, founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci.

Gucci Aria
Gucci Aria collection.


  1. The origins: Guccio Gucci
  2. The DNA of the brand
    2.1 Green-red-green
    2.2 The logo
  3. The growth of Gucci
  4. The third generation
  5. The Tom Ford Era
    5.1 Gucci sells stock package
    5.2 The Tom Ford personality
  6. From 2000 to 2005
    6.1 Exhibitions, inaugurations and collaborations 
    6.2 Sales drop
    6.3 The Asian market
    6.4 Tom Ford leaves Gucci
  7. New creative directors
  8. From 2005 to today
    8.1 The 90th anniversary
  9. Kering
  10. Current situation
  11. The turning point with Alessandro Michele
  12. 100 years of Gucci and the collaboration with Balenciaga
  13. The value of Gucci

The origins: Guccio Gucci

Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci (1881-1953), the son of a straw manufacturer who, at a very young age, moved first to Paris and then to London where, working as a liftboy at the Savoy Hotel, he developed a taste for beauty and ‘elegance. On his return to Florence, after working at the Franzi company in Milan, he opened a first shop and a small workshop in via della Vigna 7 and via del Parione 11: he sold travel items and saddlery. In 1932 he moved to the larger premises in via della Vigna Nuova 11. Five years later, he produced bags, suitcases and sporting goods in his still artisanal factory in Lungarno Guicciardini.

Guccio Gucci

DNA of the brand:  bit and stirrup

The first successes are also linked to accessories for riding: soon, indeed, the motifs of the bit and the stirrup became the emblem of the Florentine house. Sales were such as to push Gucci out of the confines of his hometown. He landed in Rome with a shop in via Condotti : it was 1938. During the difficult years of autarchy , the imagination faced the shortage of raw materials with the introduction of materials such as hemp, linen, jute and the famous bamboo, less expensive than the usual leathers and such as to feed the originality of the brand. In 1939, the transition from a sole proprietorship to a company marked the official entry into the business of the 5 children of Guccio: Ugo, Grimalda, Vasco, Aldo and Rodolfo. After the death of their father, in 1953, Aldo and Rodolfo took over the company.


Gucci 1950, Travel bags with the red-green motif
Travel bags with the green-red-green pattern, 1950.

The 1950s represented an important moment in the life of the company. In 1953 the old Florentine artisan workshop in Lungarno Guicciardini moved to the premises of Palazzo Settimanni in via delle Caldaie, today a very modern showroom. Distinctive of the brand became a ribbon inspired by the girth of the saddle, of different sizes, in wool or cotton, in the colors green-red-green for items in natural leather and in blue-red-blue for colored leathers. In the same year, the company, which already had a European dimension, decided to take root in a more stable way also overseas and become one of the bridgeheads of Made in Italy in the United States.

GG logo

Gucci Logo GG
GG logo.

’50s are also the years in which the company decided to use the GG logo, to indicate the initials of the founder, as an ornamental motif for a cotton canvas fabric, called GG Canvas, with which to make bags, small leather goods, luggage, objects and the first clothing. It was Aldo Gucci who strongly wanted the expansion with the opening of a first store in New York’s 58th Street. Meanwhile, the products destined to become “classics” were consolidated: the first bag with a bamboo handle (1947), the moccasin with the horsebit (1952 – 1953), the Flora scarf (1967), created by Rodolfo Gucci and Accornero for Grace Kelly. Women with inimitable style, like Audrey Hepburn , Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, the Duchess of Windsor, chose Gucci items. Thanks to the opening of the new stores in London (1961), Palm Beach (1961), Paris (1963) and Beverly Hills (1968) and to the creativity of the production, the house obtained significant new consents in the most important markets of the world.

The growth of Gucci

In Florence, after the flood of Autumn 1966, Gucci left the shop windows in via della Vigna and moved to a shop in via Tornabuoni. The production potential developed with the opening, in 1971, of the new large factory in Scandicci, near Florence. This allowed for a further extension of the direct network of stores in the 1970s: after Chicago (1971), those in Tokyo (1972) and Hong Kong (1974) marked the beginning of an ever wider presence in the East. The industrial development of the company did not mean, however, the renunciation of artisanal schemes, always managed and organized in the Florentine headquarters, with a strict control on the quality of the product.

Gucci from the 70s
Gucci advertising campaign, ’70s.

The third generation

Meanwhile, the third Gucci generation arrives in the company. Aldo’s children, Giorgio, Roberto and Paolo, and Rodolfo’s son, Maurizio. Between the two brothers and their respective children there is no lack of ideological clashes over the administration of the company. Between the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, Paolo Gucci left the family business to open his own brand. Soon after he was sanctioned, and subsequently ousted from the company. Notably, for using the name Gucci improperly.

Rodolfo Gucci falls ill and his shares are divided between Aldo and Maurizio. Soon after, Aldo is arrested for tax evasion and sentenced to one year in prison in the United States. In 1982 Gucci was transformed into a joint stock company and the lawyer Domenico De Sole – who in the past had been close to Aldo in the operations of expansion abroad – was appointed CEO America of Gucci. At the urging of De Sole, Paolo Gucci will sell his part of the shares to his cousin Maurizio who officially becomes the majority shareholder. 

At the end of the ’80s, the fashion house went through a difficult period, with heavy losses of money. Thus, in 1989 the Anglo-Arab financial company Investcorp bought the shares owned by Aldo and his descendants, while Maurizio kept the remaining part and the presidency of the company until 1993, when he sold all his shares to Investcorp for 270 billion.

To manage the revamping of the brand were Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford . The former, who had been in charge of Gucci America since 1984, in 1995 was appointed president and CEO of Gucci Group NV.

The Tom Ford era

Gucci Tom Ford, creative director, 2003
Tom Ford, Creative Director, 2003.

Tom Ford, designer of American origin, in 1994 was appointed Creative Director of the entire production, redesigned the identity of the brand: thanks to a remix of classic and modern, of tradition and innovation, the new style of the Florentine house conquered the world. The brand thus confirmed itself as a leader in the leather goods sector, also focusing on men’s and women’s clothing collections that immediately gained great success with critics and the public.

Gucci sells the share package

Between 1995 and 1996 Gucci became the first true Italian Public Company, with the placement of the entire share capital in the financial markets of New York and Amsterdam. At the beginning of 1999 Bernard Arnault , with LVMH , conquered 34.4% of the capital, raking in the stock market and buying the package of shares owned by Prada and other investors. 

His attempt to manage the company was opposed by the supervisory board of Gucci, which entrusted the management of the defense to the managing director Domenico De Sole. After the adoption of an employee share plan, which had granted them an option to purchase Gucci shares equal to the LVMH share, in March 1999 a strategic alliance with the French group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) was approved, in order to create a multi-brand hub in the global luxury industry. For the 40% price, PPR invested $ 2.9 billion in Gucci, to finance growth through acquisitions. 

First opportunity, in July 1999, the acquisition of Sanofi Beauté, a company that controlled Yves Saint-Laurent and the Roger & Gallet perfume group as well as those of Krizia , Fendi and Oscar de la Renta . While LVMH continued the legal battle, the independent shareholders gathered in the meeting expressed their approval of the new shareholder as well as the CEO Domenico De Sole. Gucci closed the first half of ’99 with a net profit of 255 billion lire, up 68% compared to the first 6 months of ’98.

Tom Ford’s personality

Gucci, Spring / Summer 2003 collection
SS 2003 collection.

In the Milano Moda Donna marathon, Gucci has always been the event not to be missed. Also because we say Gucci but we think about Tom Ford, a designer with an indisputable charisma and undeniable charm. He continued to follow style itineraries congenial to him: a master of uncontrolled seduction, his collections were often to be read as the refined Kamasutra also with regard to male trends. Memorable, in this regard, those destined for the summer of 2003, with eroticism bordering on hard, which he himself defined as «vaguely pornographic», with explicit red light messages written even on the slippers.

Gucci 2003 advertising campaign
Advertising campaign, 2003.

Pretty-man or rock star: certainly a man who never went unnoticed, even when he wanted to be inclined to the classic, interpreted in the manner of the Great Gatsby . For women, the game became even easier and more explicit: a lady animated by bad intentions, in scraps of intriguing dresses that captured the audience, especially in black, a color loved for its arrogant authenticity.

From 2000 to 2005

The Gucci Group continued to grow and acquire several luxury brands, including: Sergio Rossi , Alexander McQueen , Bédat & Co.Bottega Veneta , Stella McCartney , Balenciaga and the Australian JV. The creative direction always remained in the hands of the individual brands. In November 2001, the new Gucci flagship store, in Tretyakovsky Proyezd 1, made its debut in Moscow.

In 2002 the Group made the important decision to stop importing skins from India to protest the lack of respect Indians had towards animals. Perhaps this decision was influenced by Stella McCartney, a convinced animal rights activist and new Gucci designer. In the same year, in May, the fashion house also resumed control of the activities in Taiwan, acquiring the stake held by the local partner Tasa Meng Corporation. He also inaugurated a three-storey space in Taipei with a luxury jewelry department, with a look as always by Tom Ford.

Gucci Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole
Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole.

In July, in an interview with Corriere Economia , Domenico De Sole, CEO of Gucci, who invested 200 million euros to open new stores, declared that despite the economic difficulties foreseen for 2002, the multi-brand strategy, adopted in full agreement with Tom Ford, not only worked but gave hope and expect an improvement in the second half of the year.

Exhibitions, inaugurations and collaborations

In September 2002, the Milan fashion show made the bamboo handle bag reappear: the Gucci must was deliberately large. In October, Tom Ford opened new stores all over the world, all designed by him and the architect Bill Sofield. Just as the turnover recorded a decline of 6.9% (mainly caused by the leather goods crisis), Madison Avenue and, shortly after, the third Parisian boutique, at 60 Avenue Montaigne, which joined those of Faubourg Saint Honoré and rue Saint Honoré. 

In November 2002, Gucci, in collaboration with Sàfilo, launched two new lines of sunglasses, signed by Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta. Bottega Veneta’s unisex collection was designed by the Austrian designer Tomas Maier. Stella McCartney proposed six models of various shapes and colors. A new Gucci megastore was also inaugurated in via Montenapoleone in Milan. The old shop, completely renovated, at number 5, was joined by the new spaces acquired at number 7: four floors, with four windows and three entrances. In the basement the women’s collections, on the ground floor accessories and jewelery, while the two upper floors were dedicated to men.

Gucci Flagship Store in Milan
Flagship Store in Milan.

Sales drop

In December 2002, the third quarter of 2001 showed a decline in profits and revenues. The Gucci group, listed on the Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges, had achieved revenues of 566.2 million dollars (-7.9% compared to 615 in 2000), an operating profit before depreciation of 80.9 million (against 133 ) and a net profit of 56.3 million (against 114.2). However, revenues were substantially stable (+ 11%, with 1660 million against 1642), while the net profit fell anyway (from 241.7 million to 195.1). Sales in tourism-based markets, such as New York, Hawaii, the West Coast and some European cities, suffered most. Gucci opened the first store dedicated exclusively to jewelery and watches in via Condotti in Rome.

Gucci shop in Rome
The new Rome store.

Fiscal year 2002 closed with a drop in profit to 226.8 million euros, against 312.5 in the previous year. On the other hand, revenues remained stable, at 2,544.3 million compared to 2565.1 million in 2001.

Asian market

In April 2003, in Tokyo’s most elegant district, Ginza, Gucci intended to set up its Japanese headquarters and open a new super-luxury store. In Japan, where Gucci owned seven stores and 37 shop-in-shops, in 2002, Gucci had revenues of 500 million euros, approximately 20% of the Group’s total revenues.

Gucci Japan, winter 2016 advertising campaign
Japan advertising campaign, AW 2016/2017.

In September, the PPR Group increased its stake in the Gucci group to 67.34%, approaching the target of 70% expected by the end of the year.

Tom Ford leaves Gucci

Gucci Tom Ford's latest collection for Gucci, fall / winter 2004
Tom Ford’s last collection for Gucci, AW 2004.

In November 2003, the group announced that Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford did not intend to extend their contracts, which were due to expire in 2004. Domenico De Sole declared:

“Gucci has been one of the great loves of my life and the years spent here have been a fantastic journey. I want to thank Tom, whose creative genius made our successes possible, as well as all the amazing colleagues around the world. Thanks to their skills and dedication, we have been able to transform a small company that was in bad financial conditions when I arrived in 1984 into a world power of luxury, thus creating more value for all our stakeholders “.

Tom Ford added:

“It is with great sadness that I look to my future without Gucci. For the past 13 years this company has been my life. We are leaving one of the most powerful teams in the industry and as long as I am still part of the team, I will do my best to ensure the future success of the group. I couldn’t be more proud of our work at Gucci or the exceptional team of colleagues who have contributed so much more than what is called hard work: they put their heart into our climb to success ”.

In February 2004, the PPR Group announced that it would submit an offer to acquire the Gucci Group shares it did not yet own. The offer was to be at a fixed cost of $ 85.52 per share.

New Creative Directors

Gucci Creative director, Alessandra Facchinetti
Alessandra Facchinetti, Creative director after Tom Ford.

In March 2004 Alessandra Facchinetti became the new Creative Director of the women’s clothing line. She had joined Gucci in October 2000 as style director of the womenswear division and immediately she showed exceptional qualities. John Ray became Creative Director of the men’s line: in 1996 Tom Ford had called him to Gucci as a style consultant  for the menswear line and, after a short time, he had started working full time at Gucci. Frida Giannini was the new creative director of the accessories line: born in Rome in 1972, she had studied at the Academy of Costume and Fashion. In September 2002, she became style director of the Gucci Leather Collection and contributed significantly to the success of the Leather Collections.

In June, the PPR group, which owned 99.3% of the Gucci group, collected a dividend of € 50 million. However, this amount covered over 25% of the financial charges. In fact, the French giant had paid out a total of 7 billion euros to obtain control of the Florentine house, of which 2.6 had been paid for the latest offer. He had 380 million euros in debt.

Gucci Alessandra Facchinetti, spring / summer 2015 collection
SS 2015 collection, designed by Alessandra Facchinetti.

In July Gucci opened a shop entirely dedicated to accessories and equipped with a bar in the prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. Then, in September, Gucci founded the Blutonic tannery in Tuscany, of which he controlled 51.5%. 

From 2005 to today

In March 2005, Frida Giannini replaced Alessandra Facchinetti, while John Ray retained his role as Creative Director for menswear.

Gucci Fall / winter 2006 advertising campaign
Advertising campaign, AW 2006/2007.

In January 2009, Patrizio Di Marco, former president and CEO of Bottega Veneta, became president and CEO of Gucci. Di Marco and Giannini changed the company’s strategies and decided to restore the Gucci brand. By 2010, Gucci had become the most valuable brand of the PPR group, with a turnover of more than € 2.66 billion (+ 11% compared to 2008) and an operating profit of € 765 million.

90th anniversary

In 2011 Gucci celebrated its 90th birthday: among the celebrations, the new Gucci Museum was also inaugurated, located in a 14th century building in Piazza della Signoria. The brand also launched a limited edition collection called ‘1921’ (Gucci’s founding year): the collection included the most classic and iconic pieces, such as the Bamboo, Jackie and Horsebit bags, all made with new fabrics and colors. The party went all the way to Japan, where Gucci exhibited some of its most precious pieces in a historic temple in Kyoto.

Gucci Limited Collection, 1921
Limited collection 1921.

In 2011 the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy was celebrated: Gucci and Fiat, two of the most prestigious Italian brands, collaborated for the 500 by Gucci. The special edition of the iconic Fiat 500 was customized by Gucci creative director Frida Giannini in partnership with the Fiat Style Center.

Gucci is taken over by Kering

Gucci Latest collection for Frida Giannini, spring / summer 2015Latest collection for Frida Giannini, spring / summer 2015

In 2013, Gucci sold the remaining part of the shares to the Kering group . The following year, after the SS 2015 show, after six years, the creative director Frida Giannini left Gucci due to the drop in sales. Her husband Patrizio di Marco also left the company.

In January 2015, the Italian designer Alessandro Michele was appointed creative director; Marco Bizzarri became the new CEO.

Current situation

Gucci First collection by Alessandro Michele, spring / summer 2016
Alessandro Michele’s first collection, SS 2016.

Thanks to Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzarri, to their contemporary vision, which gave the brand a new eclectic and romantic image, Gucci re-established its role among the most influential high fashion brands in the world. Today the brand has become the largest moneymaking brand in the Kering group , accounting for over 60% of its operating profit. 

The turning point with Alessandro Michele 

Gucci Alessandro Michele, creative director
Alessandro Michele, Creative Director after Frida Giannini.

Born in Rome, Alessandro attended the Academy of Costume and Fashion . Starting a brilliant career at Fendi as a Senior Accessories Designer, hired by Tom Ford in 2002, he joined Gucci. He was later moved to London, to the Gucci design office. Over the course of his 12-year career, he has held various roles: in 2006 he was appointed Leather Goods Design Director;  in May 2011, after being promoted, he became  Associate  of the then creative director Frida Giannini. In September 2014, he also became creative director of Richard Ginori, the famous Florentine porcelain design brand acquired by Gucci. 

100 years of Gucci and the collaboration with Balenciaga

A hundred years have passed. One hundred Earth revolutions that question the flow of time. One hundred laps around the Sun to return to that spring, where everything was about to sprout and refract. An important moment to celebrate

The 100th anniversary of the house is celebrated with the Gucci Aria collection. Presented off-calendar on April 15, 2021, through a short-movie directed by Floria Sigismondi, the collection pays homage to the heritage of the brand. There is no shortage of historical references: the Savoy Hotel, the Jackie 1961, the reference to the equestrian world and the golden years of Tom Ford , the famous Flora print and GG Canvas.

All elements that Alessandro Michele mixes creating a new visual language. But not just history, the collection becomes an experiment in hacking, forays and metamorphosis in which Gucci’s heritage meets Balenciaga‘s imagery. A collaboration is born that breaks the mold. Ninety-four models follow one another with a Gucci soundtrack in the background, cross a club that is teeming with lights and flashes, and then arrive in an earthly paradise in a reconnect with nature.

Gucci Aria

Value of Gucci

One hundred years after the foundation of the Maison, and for the third consecutive year, Gucci in 2021 confirms itself as the first Italian brand by value. With 28.17 billion euros of brand value, the Florentine brand is positioned at the top of the ranking drawn up by the company Kandar, tripling the second rank in value and thus recording a growth of 12% compared to 2020.


On 25th November 2022 Kering Group confirmed the separation between Gucci and Alessandro Michele: the Creative Director, whose passion, imagination, intelligence, and culture were praised, left his role, maybe because of his excessively personalistic turn or because of a turnover lower than how expected. He was replaced by Sabato De Sarno, who already had similar roles in Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, and Valentino.

Moreover, on 19th July 2023, Kering also announced the firing of Marco Bizzarri, because of an internal management reorganization (Bizzarri also was a member of the executive committee of the French giant). He was replaced by Jean-François Palus.

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