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

1881

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

1921

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

1938

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

Courtesy of Gucci

1947–48

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

1951

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

1953

Ingrid Bergman is seen carrying a Gucci bag around Naples.

Rue des Archives; Courtesy of Gucci

1958

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

1961

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

Courtesy of Gucci

1961

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).

Courtesy of Gucci

1966

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

Agomeri; Courtesy of Gucci

1960s

Audrey Hepburn shops in Gucci’s Rome store.

Farabolafoto; Courtesy of Gucci

1971

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

Publifoto / Olycom; Courtesy of Gucci

1972

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

Farabolafoto; Courtesy of Gucci

1976

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

Archivio Publifoto / Olycom; Courtesy of Gucci

1977

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

Courtesy of Gucci

1985

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

1991

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

Courtesy of Gucci

1994

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

1995

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!”

Courtesy of Gucci

1996-97

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

2009

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

2009

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

2010

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

2010

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

2011

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.

Courtesy of Gucci

2011

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.