Selling vintage Gucci and other designer items means that we have to be ever vigilant for fakes. We do not sell fakes.
Sometimes authenticating can take a while but I have great fun trawling the internet and taking trips to London. So I was really pleased to come into the shop last week and find new consignments including a vintage Louis Vuitton cross body bag (without a sticky pocket!!), a vintage Mulberry scotchgrain shopper, a vintage Mulberry in black congo leather (now sold) and a lovely vintage Gucci bag. It was doing the research for the last which inspired this post.
A picture of the bag is at the bottom of the page as it is displayed in the shop.
The vintage Gucci is a lovely flap over clutch made from brown gucci monogram fabric which is coated. It has the iconic red and green web as a centre stripe over the flap and, unusually, it has a chain handle which can be removed to turn the bag into a true clutch. The owner said she bought it in 1982/3 from the Bond Street Gucci store with one of her first wage packets – I love knowing these things!
The bag has no serial number just the gold stamp of the Gucci bellboy. The research starts and because I had some time I found out about the Gucci dynasty – and when I say dynasty think soap opera!!
So, like Louis Vuitton, Guccio Gucci started with high end luggage as an inspiration following time he spent working in hotels in Paris and London. When Guccio then returned to his hometown of Florence he set up a shop selling high quality leather goods made by local artisans for him. As his sons Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo grew older they joined the business which continued to expand and opened shops in Rome and Milan. The range also expanded to include shoes, including the classic Gucci loafer with horse bit snaffle, and the gorgeous silk scarves which they still produce.
It was during WWII, when leather was in short supply, that Gucci turned to canvas to make their bags. They developed the red and green webbing which is so well known and still used today. The following decade the GG logo appeared on hardware with the iconic GG print appearing late 1960s. The GG print was an evolution of the diamond print which had originated in the 1930s.
Following WWII Gucci’s profile really soared, opening a store in New York in 1953 and often being worn by Jacqueline Bouvier/Kennedy/Onassis – so much so that her favourite style of Gucci bag became known as the Jackie O! And the Jackie O bag remains in production today. In fact we also recently took in a pale straw Jackie O with dark orange leather on the edges, corners and handles and a lovely orange raffia floral design on the front. It is going to make the right outfit really pop!
Then in the early 1970s Gucci brought out the Gucci Accessory Collection (GAC) which ran until about 1989. These pieces were mainly made from Gucci monogram canvas coatedin and pigskin with various trims and were part of the Gucci perfume division – really an early diffusion line! From about 1983 GAC used less hardware in an effort to make them more affordable. I think it most likely thatt his lovely bag is part of that collection and quite possible part of the very last 1983 collection given the lovely chain link strap.
During this time another of Guccio’s grandsons, Paolo Gucci, was fired and he set up separate production in Mexico where he produced a collection called Gucci Plus. He won a court case in 1987 so was allowed to continue using that name but he had to clearly mak them so as not to confuse customers.
During this time Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo had families. Guccio died in 1953. Rodolfo’s son Maurizio took over the helm on the death of Rudolfo in 1983. Here the drama starts: Maurizio dismissed his uncle Aldo and was a poor president so that 5 years later he had to sell the company to Investcorp. Maurizio was then murdered in 1993 and his ex-wife Patrizia was convicted of hiring his killers.
While the fortune of the Gucci family was changing, the Gucci company began a new ascendancy. A combination of buyouts, acquisitions and share issues ensued so that Gucci ended up in a stable which also includes YSL and Bottega Veneta – two more of my favourites! Tom Ford was hired in 1990 to design a ready to wear line and the success of his time at Gucci is well documented.
And so the gorgeous vintage Gucci bag now comes with a history lesson!