Guccio Gucci founded Gucci Designer House in 1921 in Florence, Italy… Guccio left his home to work as a bellboy in the Savoy Hotel in London. He continued his travels through Europe until his return to Florence in 1921. He was inspired by the expensive and well-made luggage he saw while traveling. Legend has it that most of that luggage was made in Tuscan, Italy. In any case, he did end up using the high quality materials available in Florence, Italy,
The business expanded and by 1933 it included Guccio’s son, Aldo, who designed the now famous double GG logo. In 1935, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, leather became scarce, and Gucci started using a specially woven Tuscan hemp to make bags. These lightweight tan hemp bags with the repeating Gucci logo are still instantly recognizable today.
In 1947, Gucci designed its first bamboo handle bag, another Gucci classic, and in 1949 the first dotted pigskin shell. The spotted pigskin shell was initially a mistake but soon became a Gucci trademark. By the second part of the 20th century, the Gucci house expanded to include clothes and accessories as well as bags. It became synonymous with excellent craftsmanship, practicality, and elegance.
Yves Saint Laurent-Paris is a luxury fashion house known for its iconic modern pieces. It was founded by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge in 1961. The first YSL couture collection was shown in Paris in January 1962 to mixed reviews. However, the following years proved more successful with their designs being sold in Japan and a fragrance, Y, coming out in 1964. The fragrance was an instant hit.
For YSL, 1966 proved to be an important year with several of their signature designs coming out, including the women’s trouser suit Le Smoking. The trouser suit proved to be the most recognizable and influential YSL design. That was also the year when the first ready to wear collections came out with the purpose of democratizing fashion. The house continued to expand, soon incorporating accessory lines and men and women’s fragrances. It is synonymous with style and elegance to this day.
The Prada house was initially called Fratelli Prada, Italian for the Prada Brothers, and was established in Milan by brothers Mario and Martino Prada in 1913. The brothers made fine leather goods and luxury accessories, often made from unusual skins, such as alligator and walrus. The house did not take long to make fame. In 1919, they were designated an official supplier to the Italian royal household.
In 1977, Miuccia Prada, Mario’s granddaughter, took over the business and she proved to be a great success. She stopped selling other brands in the store and concentrated on reworking the Prada original luggage and handbag designs. In September 1978, Prada accessories made their first appearance in Vogue. By the following year, the handbags appeared in Vogue as well.
The brand really expanded in the 1980s, introducing footwear, women’s wear, and ready to wear lines. In 1984, Miuccia introduced the simple black nylon backpack. The backpack had a slow start but by the 1990s became the greatest status symbol, a must have bag for the end of the century.