Images that have become icons: the bamboo bag, the loafer with a clamp, labelled fabrics, the Flora scarf dedicated to Grace of Monaco. Here’s to you Gucci and Ferragamo
Furthermore, other creations have one single creator and a style recognizable all over the world. It is Gucci, a famous and important name and the history of the label that takes his name is completely Florentine. In fact, it is in Florence, in 1921, that Guccio Gucci opened a small artisan shop selling leather products.
Here, he applied knowledge and elegance in the lines and the use of precious materials to his production. Shortly, the shop became bigger and then additional ones were opened, until the great explosion in the period in which Florence became capital in the 50’s. Famous ladies such as Jackie Kennedy, with the shoulder pad purse with closing and with the classical band in green-red-green cord, or Princess Grace and the scarf with a miracle of flowers, a homage to her beauty and her charm.
Later on, more brands start, perfumes, high fashion, still Gucci remains equivalent with quality. Its roots are in this city, which sees high artisanship as one of its greatest resources. Leather production is traditional and quite ancient; one could say that it goes back to the beginning of the city. To make skins softer and more workable, special and appropriate spaces were built. Some of these names still exist to this day. For example Via delle Conce (literally, Tannings’ street) behind Santa Croce. Here, in the area near the Arno River, there were big tubs used to tan skins.
After a long production, these were painted and finished, then finely decorated with a golden leaf, with the classical fleur-de-lis or the blazons of the various Florentine households.
More excellence, more people who have dedicated their lives to creating beauty. During the 30’s, arrived into Florence, from America where he had emigrated very young, a very expert shoemaker: Salvatore Ferragamo. He landed in Florence in the 30’s and thanks to his mastery in the creation of shoes, which were not only comfortable but also elegant and refined, his fame spread at an international level.
His talent was recognized in America and the great divas of the time, first and foremost the divine Greta Garbo, started wearing only Ferragamo shoes. His was not simply an excellent production; it was also innovation, research and fantasy. Amongst his more famous pieces, are his sandals with thousand colored listels and cork wedge heels, which contribute to bringing Florence from the darker period of the 40’s up to the glorification of the city as a place where style is created.
All stars were crazy for Ferragamo.
The red rhinestones shoes, with Marilyn Monroe’s iconic rounded form become icons such as Coca Cola was or any of Warhol’s series of images. Ferragamo’s success continued with the opening of international stores and it began expanding in all fashion fields. His purses with seal, scarfs with felines on them were, and still are, very recognizable. A very important fact is that the brand is still Italian; it still belongs to the great family that has been able to preserve and hand down a dream.
Gucci and Ferragamo maisons have dedicated to their history museums that introduce us in their worlds. Two places that should not be missed. One is the Ferragamo Museum in the Palazzo Feroni, in the historical headquarters, in Piazza Trinità. The Gucci Museum is in Piazza Signoria.
In the 50’s, Florence became the fashion capital of the world. In Palazzo Pitti’s white hall, the most important names in fashion showed their collections and the city competed with Paris for the highest place in high fashion. Florence dreamt and its beauty, and the wonder of the event pushed the city in the collective imaginary.