The newest line of Gucci Handbags was launched in the latter part of 2004 and the full product list can be viewed through the official Gucci site. The 2004 line of Gucci handbags are still available for purchase. Some handbags from past seasons may still be available, with the more popular designs often priced at higher levels.
Guccio Gucci, founder of the Gucci brand, was the son of an Italian merchant from Italys northern manufacturing region. In his youth, Gucci rebelled against joining his familys straw hat making business by running away to London where he worked at the opulent and upscale Savoy Hotel. He spent much of his time paying much attention to the baggage of the hotels wealthy guests and this was where he gained an understanding of cosmopolitan culture, sophistication and aesthetics.
When 39 year old Guccio Gucci returned to Florence in 1921, he set up his own shop, the House of Gucci, at 7 via della Vigna Nuova where he started by selling luggage and horse saddles. He hired the finest craftsmen in the area to work in his atelier, and he personally designed many of the Gucci products sold. His venture turned out to be a success and in 1938, he opened another store in the eternal city of Rome.
The Gucci name continued to grow, and in 1947 the company reached even greater heights when they introduced the bamboo-handle handbag, an item that is still used by the company today. Further developments included the red striped webbing, which was derived from the saddle girth. This was incorporated into Gucci products in the 1950s.
In 1953, Guccio Gucci passed away and his four sons took over running the company. It was after Guccio Guccis death that the House of Gucci broke the international market. Through the leadership of Aldo Gucci, the company opened satellite boutiques in London, Paris and New York.
In the late 1960s, the House of Gucci (or Gucci) was able to penetrate the Asian market when they opened stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo. It was during this period that the famous GG logo (Guccio Guccis initials) was developed. The 60s also ushered in the Flora silk scarf, often worn by actress Grace Kelly; and the Jackie O shoulder bag, which was made famous by the late Jackie Kennedy, wife of former US. President John F. Kennedy.
In the late 1970s, the Gucci Accessories Collection (GAC), composed of small items including make up bags, lighters, and pens were developed to increase the sales of the Gucci Parfums sector. These items, considerably more reasonably priced than the other items in their collection, were well received. Soon, the Accessories division outsold the Parfums division and brought the exclusive Gucci brand to thousands of stores in the United States. Because the Gucci name became more accessible to ordinary people, the brand suddenly lost its exclusive appeal. The name was further damaged by the proliferation of cheap fakes and replicas.
In 1989, a third generation Gucci came to the helm of the Gucci Company. Maurizio Gucci, son of Rodolfo Gucci inherited the Company from his father and immediately stated that he wanted to incorporate numerous changes in the company. He invited the celebrated Dawn Mellow to join the business as a creative director. In Gucci America, Domenico de Sole was appointed to take charge. Although designers Geoffrey Beene and Calvin Klein were already part of Guccis roster of designers, Dawn Mello, through the urging of his partner Richard Buckley, took in a young designer named Tom Ford. This young designer would make Gucci a byword in the fashion industry once again.
In the early 1990s, Gucci went through the poorest time in the companys history. Due to several wrong decisions, the company experienced heavy losses and, once again, almost went bankrupt. Although Maurizio Gucci loved the familys business dearly and had noble intentions, he was clearly incapable of leading the company. In 1993, he was forced to sell his shares to Investcorp. Dawn Mellow left a year after Maurizio Guccis departure and the position of creative director went to 32 year old Tom Ford.
Ford took Guccis image towards a new direction. If he was unable to do that under the direction of Maurizio Gucci and Mellow, Forf was finally given the free rein under the supervision of De Sole. De Sole, now CEO of Gucci, realized that Gucci needed a new image if it were to become a profitable company once again.
Thus, in 1995 the world saw a new Gucci. With a hip, trendy and bold new image, Gucci products were once again donned by the rich and famous such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. It was also in this year that Gucci Group became a publicly traded company, with listings on the New York and Amsterdam stock exchanges.
Since then, Gucci has continued to prosper as an influential element in the fashion industry and a highly profitable business operation. The European Business Press Federation named The Gucci brand as the European company of the Year 1998 for its economic and financial performance, strategic vision and management quality.
Tom Ford left Gucci in 2004, together with De Sole. After much shuffling, the company is now headed by Frida Giannini and John Ray.
Gucci handbags are sold exclusively at Gucci directly operated stores or at authorized franchises and points of sales in select department stores, specialty shops and duty free counters. Authentic Gucci products are not sold through through internet auction sites such as Ebay. The company has forbidden their dealers to advertise or sell on Ebay. However, there are certified dealers of Gucci who have websites where you can purchase the latest lines of Gucci, such www.forzieri.com and www.ashford.com. In such websites, you are 100% assured that you will be buying the real thing.
As of the end of 2004, Gucci operates 398 directly operated stores including 198 with Gucci, 60 with Yves Saint Laurent, 65 with Bottega Veneta and the rest with the Groups other brands. Gucci is presently not seeking to expand its network of distribution.
Authentic Gucci Guarantee
All Gucci handbags are manufactured in Italy and made with the highest quality materials. Original Gucci products always come with a Gucci authenticity card. To ensure that you get an authentic Gucci handbag, buy only from authorized Gucci dealers or outlets. For a full listing of authorized dealers near your area, visit www.gucci.com