14 April 2017

The Reinvention of Gucci

Gucci is almost a century old.  In 2021 it will be a hundred years since founder Guccio Gucci first sold the company’s trademark luxury fashion and leather goods.  The company has had its peaks and troughs in the intervening years (imagine it as a person, for a second, and you know there will be ups and downs!).  However, perhaps the greatest challenge has been to reinvent itself for the age of social media.

It hadn’t really occurred to me, until I read The Watch Gallery’s very interesting piece today, that a company like Gucci would find it necessary to adapt to the times: one would assume, surely, that brands such as this would never go out of fashion.

Yet that is not the case, even for a company as widely known and successful as Gucci.  Perhaps a modern-day Darwin could write a new evolutionary tract about how companies, like species, must adapt to survive or otherwise perish.

As such, some companies have undergone complete transformations.  Nokia, known today for the mobile technology used to propagate stories like this on social media started off selling rubber boots.  The name of the oil and gas company Shell gives away its origins by its name. In the 1830s it was an importer of ornamental sea shells to the UK.  Nintendo was originally a manufacturer of playing cards.  The latter organisation’s evolution makes some sense: it takes something of a leap of the imagination to accept the development of the first two.

Gucci, of course, has persevered with products that its customers of a century ago would probably recognise.  However, its most recent manifestations have been a daring combination of self-reference (such as the comeback of the famous double G logo) and the artistic freedom of its new clutch of designers.

The piece, How Luxury Stays Ahead in the Digital Age, written by Emily Seares, focuses on the last two years, during which Gucci has undergone possibly the largest organisational transformation of its history thanks to two men, Alessandro Michele (above, with the beard) and Marco Bizzarri.  The turnaround has been staggering considering it has been brought about in such a short amount of time. As renaissances go, this is quite something.

Image Credit Daniel Marchand