The French holding company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, the company’s owner since 1999, took managerial control in 2004, to Ford’s extreme chagrin—and he departed, leaving the label with a very big pair of alligator loafers to fill. Ford had taken the company from virtual bankruptcy in 1994 to a value of $4.3 billion at the end of the decade, and the brand’s identity had never been stronger. Enter the relatively unassuming Frida Giannini, an accessories designer: She had been part of the Gucci design stable for nearly three years when she was awarded the top spot.
1901 : Gucci returns to Florence with the hope of becoming a luggage maker.
Since it was founded by Guccio Gucci in a small shop in Florence in 1921, the company has built a catalog of genuinely iconic trademarks—the interlocking GG logo; the bar-and-bit belt buckle; the bamboo-handled handbag; the shiny velvet pantsuit; the omnipresent penny loafer, to name a few—all of which have helped the brand penetrate mainstream culture like no other Italian label in history.
1952 : Aldo travels to New York with his brothers Rodolfo and Vasco. With the help of an American lawyer, Frank Dugan, they set up Gucci Shops Inc., which will own the rights to the Gucci trademark in the U.S. They also open their first American store on East Fifty-eighth Street, around the corner from Fifth Avenue. Paolo Gucci, Aldo’s youngest son, begins working as a designer under Vasco in Florence.