The 100-Year-Old Fashion Giant’s Legacy in Pop Culture and Controversies

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Italian luxury fashion house Gucci is synonymous with modern day high-end fashion, and pop culture hype. However, journey of this fashion house started by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Italy, a century ago in 1921 is rife with interesting family feuds and a high-profile murder. The latter has become the subject of the recent Ridley Scott directorial House of Gucci.

As the brand celebrates its centenary year since its founding, House of Gucci stands as a reminder how the global fashion brand had many enemies. The movie starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek and Al Pacino traces the story of 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of the founder, who was shot dead on the stairs to his office, on the orders of his former wife. Adam plays the role of Maurizio while Gaga plays the role of his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani.

Before we talk about the controversial murder of Maurizio, we should look back at the inception of the luxury house. Guccio was born on March 26, 1881, to a leather goods maker, and worked as a bellboy at a hotel in London. Here his first tryst with luxury goods took place when he saw the exquisite luggage of the hotel’s guests. Guccio opened the first leather goods store, producing luxury travel goods for Italy’s wealthy upper class, as well as equestrian gear.

Gucci’s iconic print which features a series of interconnecting dark brown diamonds on a tan background, was devised by Guccio when Italy faced leather shortage during the second World War. Guccio’s sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo joined their father’s business and opened more stores in Italy and abroad, spurring the company’s fortunes.

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Even though the brand was making strides in global markets with celebrities in New York sporting its luxury items, the inside feud among the family continued. According to Deutsche Welle, during the 70s to 90s internal disagreements among the Gucci siblings, charges of tax evasion, poor management, and the murder of Guccio’s grandson and former Gucci head, Maurizio, were some of the incidents faced by the fashion house.

Bahrain-based Investcorp took over the company in 1993, and the Gucci family lost all stakes in the company. The fashion house was later bought by French group PPR, whose CEO Francois-Henri Pinault is married to Mexican-American actress Salma, who also features in the movie.

Maurizio and Patrizia separated and the grandson of Guccio lived with Paola Franchi. Patrizia and her accomplices, including a self-confessed witch called Auriemma, played by Salma, were later found guilty of the crime, and served jail time.

Today the Gucci fashion house is known for its gender fluid fashion with artists like Harry Styles, and Jared expressing their androgynous style through its creations. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele designed the couture creations worn by Harry and Jared for their Met Gala red carpet appearances.

Are you excited to watch House of Gucci?

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