BEHIND THE BRAND: GUCCI
* * * * *
Gucci’s famed loafers was a topic of an extensive article in the Financial Times. What more confirmation does one require that these shoes have attained iconic prestige than a profile in a global broadsheet? In the article, Gucci's creative director said that she "plays with the design each season, updating the shape, materials and details, but the shoe's essential beauty and functionality remain the same". No wonder the world's most shrewd gentlemen, from politicians to film directors, have been wearing them for half a century, and that, in 1962, these famous shoes became part of the collection at the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Linking the luxury of a moccasin with a formality, Gucci loafers have long been the footwear of choice for that group of international travellers once known as the jet set. The shoes are synonymous with Hollywood's biggest names as well as Europe's more suave males while remaining particularly common with high-flying Japanese businessmen, who are said to find them convenient in a culture where you have to take your shoes off every time you enter a room.
From its inception, Gucci has balanced glamour with a level of quality that's reliant on artisanal production techniques. Meanwhile, at an aesthetic level, Ms Giannini has an unerring ability to update the best of Gucci's heritage in a manner that makes it entirely contemporary, yet pleasingly classic. As a result, these famous loafers are likely to continue to define a certain strand of masculine style for many years to come.
All the crafts workers concerned in the production these loafers are situated in a single studio in Florence. Wearing traditional leather aprons over white lab coats, an outfit that embodies Gucci's blend of the past with the present and, suitably attired, use a tailored toolkit to hand-make each shoe. After nailing the upper of the shoe to a last, the artisan stitches the moccasin upper to the sole, before offering over to a colouring specialist, who hand stains the leather to give the hide a rich tone.
Since the leather is stained completely by hand, giving it a lightly-worn vintage look, the appearance of each shoe is unique. The final step sees the leather lining, and the metal and bamboo horse bit hardware attached by hand before the shoes are wrapped and boxed.
Don't be. Become.
* * * * *
A U T H O R
I M A G E
* * * * *