A vintage Gucci bag is far more than a handbag or piece of luggage. It is nearly a century of colorful history and social change. In 1920, Guccio Gucci, an immigrant worker who had been employed in a hotel in Paris, had been so impressed with the fine luggage he saw there, that he began a shop of his own in Florence. Florence was a city famed for its artisans. He hired skilled leather workers, and although he set up his shop for industrial style production, he emphasized craftsmanship and excellent finish.
The first bags were leather. But during World War II, because of shortages, the Gucci bags were made of canvas. Guccio Gucci had three sons, and when they were old enough, he expanded the company. Stores were opened in Milan and Rome, and more items were added. Handbags, shoes, silks and knitwear, as well as the original luggage pieces were marketed, all bearing the GG logo. For a time, it seemed the company could do no wrong.
But then Maurizio Gucci took over the company in 1983. There had already been disputes and problems, and it quickly became clear that Maurizio was unable to manage the company successfully. In 1988, he was forced to sell the company to Investcorp. There were several years of change following that sale, but the company continued to grow and produce fine clothing, handbags, and luggage. One of the changes included, for a time, part-ownership with Stella McCartney and other notables. Currently, the CEO is Marco Bizzarri. Bizzarri emphasizes social responsibility, and as of 2018, fur is being removed from Gucci creations.
Gucci bags have long been synonymous with quality. As you might guess, vintage Gucci bags are unlikely to be an item that you will find in your average vintage clothing shop. In some cases, a vintage Gucci bag might well be worth more than a current production item.
Even slightly distressed Gucci items could be worth a great deal. But when you are carrying a Gucci bag, you can feel as if you are among the privileged of the world.