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Crisis and revival of the Gucci fashion house


The famous Gucci crisis fell on the 80s. The decisive year in the fate of the House was 1983, when, after the death of Rodolfo Gucci, his shares were inherited by his son Maurizio. Soon Maurizio was sentenced to a year in prison for forging a will. To avoid punishment, he fled to another country, but after a while he returned to Italy thanks to his uncle Aldo, who stood up for his nephew, proving his innocence. However, charges were also brought against Aldo. In 1986, he was found guilty of tax evasion in the US treasury.

None of the family stood up for Aldo, and his own son Paolo even presented evidence of his father’s guilt to the court. As a result, Aldo went to an American prison. After that, in 1989, all shares passed to Maurizio Gucci, who, however, could not cope with the management of the company and completely destroyed the reputation of a respected brand. As in most cases, one of the problems lay in the sale of licenses. The Gucci trademark was owned by hundreds of small firms, including Asian ones, which legally placed the Gucci logo on low-quality goods.

The 80s were the most terrible in the history of the House. Dapper Dan, a tailor who has designed logos for Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton, remembers vividly when bootleg Gucci T-shirts were sold by Korean and Chinese vendors in New York markets in the mid-80s. Quick sales stimulated production, but not always quantity turned into quality. The drawings were applied using paper stickers and an iron. The ink did not have time to penetrate the fabric, and the sale of products was quick and easy.

From that moment on, Gucci became associated with smugglers’ brands, and wealthy customers stopped buying the brand’s products altogether.

In 1993, Maurizio, realizing that the company was in complete despair, both creatively and financially, sold his stake to the investment company Investcorp. Since then, the rights to the Gucci brand no longer belong to the family. At this moment, family battles begin, which soon shocked society. Maurizio’s wife, Patricia Reggiani, hired a hitman to kill her ex-husband out of jealousy (Maurizio cheated on his wife with his mistress Paola Franchini). In 1995, Maurizio was killed on the threshold of his office. The Black Widow, as she was soon nicknamed, was sentenced to 29 years in prison. Her accomplices were also imprisoned: Savioni, Cheraula and a psychic friend.

In 2011, Patricia was offered to leave early on the condition that she starts working.

Brand revival

New life to the fashion house was given by the American designer Tom Ford, who came to the post of creative director in 1994. For his first collection in 1996, he was named Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Since then, he has firmly established himself in the fashion industry. The basis of his collections was porn-chic: constant references to erotica and the adult film industry, provocative cutouts, mini-lengths and weightless fabrics that seemed to fall off the model a little more. A significant role in the revival of Gucci was played by Domenico de Sole, who took over as CEO in 1995. His clever marketing strategy saw the brand soon see growth in the luxury market.

Unfortunately or fortunately, everything that connected the brand with equestrianism is reduced to nothing and the glamor, extravagance and aesthetics of the wealthy youth of the 2000s come to the fore.

In 1998, the Gucci fashion house entered the Guinness Book of Records. The brand was noted for having created the most expensive jeans in the world at a price of $ 3,134.

Ford left Gucci in 2004 and was replaced by Alessandra Facchinetti, who had previously worked for 7 years at Miu Miu. However, she failed to continue the development of the brand, she did not add anything new to Ford’s design and left the post a year later.

After her, the place of creative director was taken by Frida Giannini, who previously worked at Fendi, and in 2004 headed the Gucci accessories department. She held this position until 2014, working side by side with her husband Patrizio di Marco, who served as chief executive during the same period.

Since the late 90s, the Gucci Group has also acquired a number of companies, and already in April 2004 it included Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and others. Soon they were bought by the French corporation Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR).

New era of Gucci

Alessandro Michele’s career began in the 90s at the Fendi fashion house, where he was responsible for leather accessories. After, in 2002, he began to collaborate with Gucci – then under the leadership of Tom Ford, and already in 2015 Alessandro became the creative director of the brand. In 2015 Michele was joined by CEO Marco Bizzarri. Together they created a successful commercial duo, and in the first year of cooperation, Gucci showed an increase in sales of 11.5% compared to 2014: up to 3.9 billion euros. Today, thanks to Michele, Gucci tops the rankings of the best-selling brands, and its sales increased by 49% between January and April 2018.

The fashion house has experienced a real rebirth, opening more stores in the Asian market, collaborating with contemporary artists (think of the collaboration with Ignacio Monreal, with whom the brand created several murals and capsules), as well as launching a collection for children and collaborating with millennials.

As for the development of design, here Michele showed his best side. Comparing his collections in 2015 and 2018, we can say with confidence that the designer moved from unobtrusive forms and simple combinations to complex eclectic stylization and mystical.