(First published on November 17, 2018)
From the time he founded his business, Guccio Gucci used his own name to identify the items made in his workshop and to distinguish an exclusive creative process. Gucci was conscious that he was making luxury items for a worldly and demanding clientele.
Throughout the years, Gucci has produced many identifying symbols.
In the 1920’s, the black Gucci brass tags visible in luggage and travel cases the 1920s has gilded uppercase lettering.
During the same period, Gucci’s canvas bags has linings with white cotton labels sewn into them, blue embroidered cursive script spells out “G. Gucci Traveling Goods Florence” emphasizing the company’s specialty. The English signature made the brand recognizable as a collection of items made for tourists and foreigners visiting Florence.
While in 1930s, large suitcases made of leather, parchment, or the Rombi fabric [which is currently known as Diamante canvas] show a different label, but now exhibiting graphic elements. Aside from the “Firenze” and the Gucci logo, the first Gucci symbol, the liftboy, can also be seen. Guccio Gucci used to be a liftboy operating elevators at the Savoy Hotel in London during the turn of the century.
In 1938, Gucci launched its first store at via dei Condotti in Rome. This liftboy-stamped tag was further redesigned in the late 1930s and early 1940s to incorporate Roma, together with Gucci and Firenze. This signifies an important milestone in Gucci’s expansion. The metal details on the luggage are branded (a large portion of which were fabricated in the Gucci workshop). The logo is emblazoned onto the brass luggage keys, closures, and zipper tabs.
Also in the 1930s, labels made of cotton with the text “G. Gucci. Florence. Via Vigna Nuova 7, Via Parione 11.“ (which are the locations of Gucci’s first boutique) were sewn in into the satin interiors of stylish evening bags.
In a letter signed by Guccio Gucci carefully preserved in the Gucci Historical Archive, these same locations appear beside the Gucci logo in a letter. With the date April 30, 1924, this letter was written in a stationary with colored letterhead. The items available in the two Florence-based stores were written in blue, while the red ink was used to draw the eye to the G in the last name and first name of Guccio Gucci.
This is one of the first manifestations of a stylized logo, which, in the early 1960s, would become one of the most famous monograms in the world: the iconic double G.
In the 1950s, new engravings, printings, hotstamp inscriptions, tags, and labels inscribed on various Gucci items such as leisure goods, housewares, gift items, and leather accessories.
Aside from the simple Gucci logo, there also appeared a number of mostly leather products with a hotstamp inscription “G. Gucci Firenze Roma Milano” You can see “G. Gucci” written in cursive as reference to Guccio Gucci’s signature, while written in uppercase are the three capitals of Italian.
In 1951, the first Gucci store in Milan was opened at via Montenapoleone 5. And to signal the brand’s growth across the pond, Gucci’s first store in the USA was opened on the 58th Street in New York. In a 1957 newsreel produced by Settimana Incom entitled “More Than Friendship” highlights the cultural and commercial relations between Italy and the United States in the 1950s.
Accompanied with an Italian voiceover with a thick English accent, it commented on the Italian creativity and craftmanship that caught the American taste. During the narration, an American saleswoman in the New York Gucci boutique presents the iconic Gucci Bamboo bag in red calfskin, especially the detailing of its interior. The “Made in Italy by Gucci” and the crest – 2 new Gucci trademarks – were also shown in the video.
Gucci was also bestowed Patent No. 124687 On February 4, 1955, now for a logo showing a shield with a knight in armor carrying two suitcases, a flower and wheel underneath, and a marquée with the word “GUCCI” — this will later on be known as the Gucci crest.
At the same Settimana Incom video, the same Bamboo bag showed a 3D version of the crest in the zipper pull inside it, while a 2D version affixed to the handbags and luggage from the early 1950s until the late 1960s.
In print ads that run in American Vogue in 1954, it highlighted Gucci as “the Italian Master.” Italian craftmanship and quality of its products were indeed highly sought after overseas.
Thus from the early 1950s to mid-1960s, the most frequently used labels in Gucci items has the “Made in Italy by Gucci” markings. The words written either in Gucci cursive or in upper case letters, were often printed in silver or gold, or even hotstamped directly into leather.
In examining Gucci bags and products from the early 1950s to mind-1960s, there are no serial numbers or more correctly ‘product numbers’ but we see the identification number of the craftsman who made the bag next to the label. This system guarantees an elite evidence manufacturing quality.
In the 1950s, Gucci initiated applying and registering for patents of their products with the Ministry of Industry and Business to protect the originality of its products. This includes applying for copyright on mechanisms, materials, construction, and shapes of Gucci items.
Many of the vintage Gucci products from the 1950s and the succeeding decades show the words “mod. brev.”, which is an abbreviation of the Italian word modello brevettato (“patented model”) beneath the Gucci logo. This is often succeeded by the patent number.
As early as the 1960s, Gucci’s brand recognition went full steam with the use of the GG monogram. Gucci started sending out models with fabrics in GG monogram at the same decade, and also started introducing various versions of the double G in precious metals. These variations of GG include a perfect circle, flipped upside down, or juxtaposed.
In the 1980s, the Gucci logo was utilized as a visual expression of the company’s visual identity and identification of an authentic Gucci item. Notable in this decade was that the Gucci crest and the logo “Gucci Made in Italy ®” were stamped into the leather interior of handbags and other items, or engraved on brass tags. Next to the logo, we also begin seeing the item’s product number (or commonly referred to as “serial number”)”.
From the 1990s forward, the label in a Gucci handbag’s interior reads “® Gucci Made in Italy,” followed by the product number (serial number).
Interestingly, the Gucci crest, usually featured in the interior or zipper pulls was featured in the exterior of the bags and accessories as decorative elements in the Gucci Spring-Summer 2008 collection. To commemorate the 90th anniversary of Gucci and the brands origins, the Gucci 1921 Collection featured the special logo “G. Gucci Firenze 1921” printed on garments and silk scarves, hotstamped in gold lettering onto leather, or engraved on metal tags.
Indeed, one of the first logos to identify the one-of-a-kind products i.e. the signature of Guccio Gucci has returned
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