Bamboo by Gucci. Legendary bags Read more

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Fashion historian Milana Abiyeva continues to talk about legendary bags in her section specially for the online magazine «Shipyards».

While everyone is hotly discussing one of the most long-awaited movie premieres of this year — the film «House of Gucci», I suggest you remember one of the iconic bags once created by the fashion house of the same name.

The Bamboo Bag, which first saw the light immediately after the end of the Second World War, managed to survive all the scandalous ups and downs of the Italian family without losing its popularity. Today handbags with an exotic wooden handle cost fabulous money, but this was not always the case.

Surprisingly, bamboo in Gucci products did not first appear as an expensive exclusive element. On the contrary, the use of wooden fittings was caused by the banal shortage of raw materials that the fashion industry faced during the Second World War.

Bamboo by Gucci.  Legendary bags

For the first time, a collection of products with bamboo was presented in 1947 by Guccio Gucci, who headed the fashion house at that time. Due to the lack of materials, designers were forced to experiment and introduce new solutions into production — perhaps the most successful and durable innovation caused by the post-war shortage was the idea of ​​Mr. Gucci to complement the models of his handbags with a bamboo handle.

Bamboo by Gucci.  Legendary bags

Despite the fact that bamboo was in abundance on the market and there were no problems with its import from Japan, before Guccio Gucci, such a seemingly obvious idea did not visit any of his contemporaries. The first handbag from the «bamboo collection» had the usual sizes and shapes for the end of the forties and the beginning of the fifties.

Made of textured pigskin, the handbag had a trapezoid shape and a magnetic closure, and of course it was complemented by the bamboo handle so recognizable today. The model so quickly fell in love with Gucci customers that already in 1958 the fashion house patented its invention, which allowed the brand to protect its new-fangled products from being copied by other designers.

Interestingly, the unique technology of manufacturing bamboo handles is still carefully maintained by the fashion house. Specially trained artisans carefully select the highest quality bamboo fragments, and then heat it into the desired shape.

After that, the handle is covered with several layers of varnish and dried thoroughly. Due to the complexity and laboriousness of the process, each product with a bamboo handle can be called unique — after all, none of the handmade wooden parts is similar to another.

Bamboo by Gucci.  Legendary bags

Bamboo handle bags have become one of the most recognizable elements of the brand’s DNA, along with the logo and tricolor stripe. This is probably why every designer at the head of the fashion house has interpreted the iconic model in one way or another. Tom Ford, who revived interest in the fashion house in the nineties, often used bamboo elements not only in handbags, but also in other accessories. He even decorated jackets, blouses and coats with bamboo elements.

In 2011, on the occasion of the brand’s 90th anniversary, Gucci creative director Frida Giannini reimagined the world-famous fashion know-how, creating a massive collection of diverse handbag models that share one common detail, namely the bamboo handle.

Bamboo by Gucci.  Legendary bags

Today, Gucci’s flamboyant and multi-faceted creative director, Alexandre Michele, also has high hopes for the «bamboo heritage» of Gucci. In the collections of the brand, you can find a wide variety of models with bamboo details. Moreover, Michele revived one of the most popular models of the nineties.

The classic shopper bag crafted from premium leather and complemented by two thin bamboo handles once often complemented the looks of Princess Diana. That is why today this model is named after the queen of human hearts — Diana. I must say that the invention, which has a statute of limitations for more than five decades, still looks relevant and stylish. Along with new models equipped with bamboo handles, the earliest version of the iconic bag is also still present in the collections of the fashion house.

And no wonder, because she often flaunted in the hands of such recognized beauties as Elizabeth Taylor, Charlotte Casiraghi, Vanessa Redgrave and many others. Do you need other evidence to award this handbag the status of «legendary»?

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