Chic History

Gucci Museo in Florence: Celebrating the Brand’s History (Photos)

Gucci unveils a museum in Florence on Tuesday. See photos of the brand’s most iconic moments.

The Gucci Museo, a museum celebrating the brand’s 90-year history, opens in Florence on Tuesday. From the birth of Jackie O’s namesake bag to Tom Ford’s first collection to Madonna’s famous red-carpet moment, see a timeline of the brand.

Courtesy of Gucci


Guccio Gucci is born in Florence in 1881. By 1912, he and his wife, Aida, had three sons: Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo, all pictured later together here. They inherited the brand.

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Guccio opens his first stores in Florence, on Via Vigna Nuova and then Via del Parione. At right, a Gucci ad from April 8, 1922.

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1935 to 1936

As a result of a League of Nations embargo against Italy in the 1930s, Gucci finds alternatives to imported leather and other materials. It develops a specially woven canapa—or hemp—from Naples, marked with its first signature print, a series of small, interconnecting diamonds in dark brown on a tan background. The company’s first suitcases are made from it.

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The Rome store opens on Via Condotti. At left, Aldo Gucci shows in the new storefront.

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Production of leather goods resumes after World War II. Aldo Gucci introduces the pigskin, which becomes a signature house material following the war. The first bamboo-handled bag, inspired by the shape of a saddle, is thought to have been produced in this period.

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Rodolfo Gucci opens the first Milan store on Via Montenapoleone. Around this time, the green-red-green web becomes a hallmark of the company. (Rodolfo is pictured at left in the store in the 1970s.)

Bert Hardy, Picture Post / Getty Images; Courtesy of Gucci


Ingrid Bergman is seen carrying a Gucci bag around Naples.

Rue des Archives; Courtesy of Gucci


Elizabeth Taylor carries a Gucci bamboo handle handbag on the set of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman in 1958.

Ron Galella; Courtesy of Gucci


The bag Jacqueline Kennedy is seen with is renamed “The Jackie” in 1961. (Here she is photographed with the bag in the 1970s.)

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Around this time, the GG logo is applied to canvas and used for bags, small leather goods, luggage, and the first pieces of clothing, including the Jackie bag (at right).

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The Flora scarf print is designed for Princess Grace of Monaco.

Agomeri; Courtesy of Gucci


Audrey Hepburn shops in Gucci’s Rome store.

Farabolafoto; Courtesy of Gucci


Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife carry Gucci suitcases through a London airport.

Publifoto / Olycom; Courtesy of Gucci


Liza Minnelli takes a spin on a shopping cart pushed by Joel Grey.

Farabolafoto; Courtesy of Gucci


Rod Stewart strides through a London airport carrying a Gucci bag.

Archivio Publifoto / Olycom; Courtesy of Gucci


Jodie Foster wears the iconic Gucci horse-bit loafers while skateboarding.

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The iconic loafer is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and becomes part of the permanent collection.

Exclusive Pix; Courtesy of Gucci


Princess Diana carries the Gucci bamboo-handle bag in Rome.

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Tom Ford, who began overseeing women’s ready-to-wear in 1990, is appointed creative director in 1994. His first collection, for fall 1995, focuses on jet-set glamour and is a critical and commercial success.

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Madonna makes a splash in Tom Ford’s first collection for the house when she accepts an award at the MTV Video Music Awards and says onstage: “Gucci, Gucci, Gucci!”

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Ford’s collection of white cutout jersey dresses fastened with abstract horse-bit belts sets the sleek, sexy, modern style of the house’s look in the 1990s, establishing it as a brand dedicated to evening glamour—and consequently attracting hordes of Hollywood actors and actress.

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Ford leaves the company in 2004. John Ray takes over men’s design, Alessandra Facchinetti takes women’s, and Frida Giannini, previously a handbag designer for Fendi, becomes creative director of accessories. By 2005, Giannini is appointed creative director of women’s ready-to-wear following her successful relaunch of the Flora print as a bag collection. A year later, she adds the role of creative director for men’s wear. By 2009, the company launches a signature scent, Flora by Gucci, and the iconic Jackie bag is relaunched and dubbed the New Jackie Bag.

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Gucci opens its first pop-up shop in New York, selling an exclusive footwear line designed by DJ Mark Ronson. Similar temporary stores will later open in Miami, London, and Tokyo.

Tony Barson, WireImage / Getty Images; Courtesy of Gucci


Salma Hayek wears the very first couture gown from Gucci Première collection designed by creative director Frida Giannini at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

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The company unveils its renovated digital flagship and launches Gucci Playground, the first iPad app dedicated to children’s wear, and the Aquariva by Gucci, a luxury yacht designed by Giannini and available made to order.

Steve Granitz, WireImage / Getty Images; Courtesy of Gucci


Hilary Swank wears a Gucci Première couture strapless floor length evening gown with silver sequins and crystal encrusted metallic bustier to the Academy Awards in 2011. The gown features a full ostrich feather skirt. This is Gucci Première’s American red-carpet debut.

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Gucci unveils the Fiat 500 by Gucci, a customized model of the Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) by Giannini that incorporates many of the house’s icons, including the green/red/green web stripe and “Guccissima” leather.

John Shearer, WireImage / Getty Images; Courtesy of Gucci

Summer 2011

Gucci dresses Florence Welch for her North American tour in dresses from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection.