We take a look at the standout moments from the history of our fave brand.
Alessandro Michele, who was recently awarded the BFC’s International Designer award for his universally beloved work, has revitalised Gucci in the last year with this poet-dreamer aesthetic and we’ve loved every minute of it. But any fashion-lover worth their salt will know that one of the brand’s previous saviours was the legendary, unbuttoned, sexed-up designer-come-director, Tom Ford. Before he and his perfectly tailored power-lapels came to the brand back in the 1990s, it was in dire need of some spicing up and it was Ford that made Gucci the global player we know it as today.
So, we thought it was about time to celebrate the best Gucci moments not just of the past year, but of all time. Well, mostly from the last twenty five years. But hey, we’re millennials!
Time for a little bit of fashion history 101: This was the year that the world first saw the Gucci horsebit loafer that we all know and love so much. Back when Gucci were more a leather-firm than a fashion house, they produced this equestrian-inspired slip on that has since been one of the clearest signifiers of jet-set grade wealth there is: from red-socked Sloaneys to Italian playboys and everyone in-between, the Gucci loafer is as classic as they come.
Though this wasn’t Tom Ford’s first collection at the helm of Gucci, it was certainly the first to make a splash. Having failed to hit headlines in his first two seasons at the brand, Ford thought it was time to go all-or-nothing for A/W ’95: “I could have sent anything down that runway. I had a moment where nobody was looking at anything I did,” claimed Ford. The gamble paid off, and Ford’s velvet hip-hugging creations proved a turning point for the brand. Bye-bye softly feminine knits, hello sexy glamour; the Tom Ford look was born.
Picking up where the sex-appeal train left off, this season was another killer one for Tom Ford: it featured slinky white cutout dresses in seductive jersey that were critically lauded by the Fashion Press. For everyone else, it was Kate Moss’ almost-topless catwalk turn for the brand that season that has been embedded into pop-culture memory – and doubtless innumerable Tumblr dashboards.
It was a Gothic extravaganza this time at Gucci, as Ford presented a series of looks in black: black eyeshadow, black fur, black ankle-strap heels. Basically black everything. It was the rock chick but sexed up like you’ve never seen her before. After all this is Ford we’re talking about, not Hedi Slimane, so expect a crucifix necklace gracing a plunging neckline rather than laddered skinny jeans and a leather Perfecto.
That Controversial Ad 2003
Anyone familiar with Ford’s perfume and cologne adverts in recent years will know that he takes the phrase “Sex Sells” at face value – think muscled, unrealistically gorgeous men and women pouring huge bottles of £200 perfume over each other whilst relishing a suspiciously phallic cigar. Well, nothing he does will ever be quite as racy as Mario Testino’s iconic campaign image for Gucci in 2003 that pretty much consisted of an oiled-up model with a G shaved into her pubic hair. Yep, branding reached new half-problematic/half-glorious heights with this exceptionally controversial piece of marketing that cemented Gucci’s status as the sexiest fashion house around.
AW ’15 Menswear
Fast forward to the Gucci of today that we can’t get enough of. Alessandro Michele, former head of accessories at the brand, reportedly had ten days to create this collection after Frida Giannini left the house unexpectedly. In that jaw-droppingly short period of time, Michele conceived of the current Gucci aesthetic and the brand’s luxury jet-setter look was replaced with an altogether more interesting one: the velvet-clad dandy poet who wears bows on his blouses and swans around in elegantly flapping flares. And so, it began.
After Michele got warmed up with the menswear this season, he really got going for the main event: this was the collection that launched a thousand bookish-sexy-librarian looks. From those endlessly impractical but sort-of-wonderful furry loafers (which were utterly sold out everywhere) to the Margo Tenenbaum coats that had us all watching our Wes Anderson favourites again, this show announced Gucci as the exotic skinned, wide trouser filled 70s fest that we all know and love. If you’re wondering why you’re suddenly considering flares again when you thought you would be in skinny jeans forever, Alessandro Michele for AW15 is the reason.