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FLANNELS Five: Things You Didn't Know About Gucci

FLANNELS Five: Things You Didn't Know About Gucci

Ah, Gucci. We have well and truly been lured into its red and green web, and there is no escape. Just the name itself, loaded with connotations of sex, glamour, exquisite craftsmanship and, um, horses, brings to mind visions of the glamorously unattainable world of the fashion elite. Together these components form the stylish foundations of perhaps the most coveted brand in history. From scandalous intrigue to guerilla-style art, here are five things you didn’t know about everyone’s favourite Italian maison.

THE FOUNDER

The House of Gucci’s founder, Guccio Gucci opened his first store in Florence in 1921. A stint working at The Savoy Hotel in London inspired him to set up shop after witnessing the fine luggage used by the elite aristocratic guests who frequented the British institution. He sold artisanal leather goods to the Florentine elites. Guccio Gucci revolutionised the market, and the maison’s signature bags soon became status symbols for the great and the good, including Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco, Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor, Peter Sellers, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan.

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THE SCANDAL

One of the most notorious scandals to strike the House of Gucci, Patrizia Reggiani, ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci (Guccio Gucci’s grandson), arranged to have her ex-husband murdered by a hit man and spent 16 years behind bars for the crime. Previously known as Lady Gucci, she and Maurizio were one of Italy’s first celebrity power couples – until their split. The perfect storm of Milanese fashion, glamour, betrayal, greed and violence. As they say – hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

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THE CREATIVE

Alessandro Michele, a hitherto unknown, was appointed Creative Director of Gucci at the beginning of 2015. He had worked at the house since 2002, when he followed his predecessor Frida Giannini from Fendi to Gucci's London office. Fascinated by British style since his youth, influences from the ‘80s’ post-punk New Romantics wave can be seen throughout his work. He was once quoted as saying that “The Queen is one of the most quirky people in the world.” Eccentric and sensuous, his nickname on Instagram is Lallo – and his feed is littered with his beautifully diverse inspirations, from Renaissance art to period costume and Momento Mori.

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THE GHOST

Trevor ‘Trouble’ Andrew, AKA Gucci Ghost, is a multidisciplinary artist from Canada living in Brooklyn whose joke illustrations landed him a collaboration with Gucci. Once an Olympic snowboarder, he found his way onto Alessandro Michelle’s radar after an art project that involved childish illustrations using cartoons and the Gucci monogram. Plugging his work via social media, he became obsessed with getting Gucci's attention and eventually did. A meeting with the CD ended with Andrew and Michelle painting clothes together with the “Gucci is life” slogan, and the rest is history.

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THE FLORA AND FAUNA

Floral prints and botanical references form a core part of the Gucci DNA. The iconic Flora silk scarf was first designed on a personal request from Grace Kelly, and has since been reimagined for subsequent collections. Gucci design HQ in Rome has boards pinned with sequinned and beaded appliqué animals scattered around the premises, which Michelle reportedly calls the ‘Gucci Garden’. All of the animals, from cocker spaniels to tiger heads, are relevant to the maison’s storied heritage and close to the CD’s heart.

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