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.
1991 : Gucci’s headquarters move from Florence to Milan’s Piazza San Fedele.
1953 : Two weeks after Aldo opens Gucci’s New York boutique, his father dies at home in Florence at 72. The company is split into three parts among Guccio’s eldest sons: Aldo continues to oversee Gucci’s expansion abroad (as well as all major business decisions) while Rodolfo manages the Milan store and Vasco runs a new factory just opened in Florence’s Oltrarno district. Their growing workforce now includes 130 skilled craftsmen.
1935 : Italian dictator Mussolini orders the invasion of Ethiopia, leading the League of Nations to impose an international trade embargo on his country. Gucci forced to branch out into other items: shoes, wallets, and belts. Leather supplies are short, so he begins making bags out of a specially woven Tuscan canapa (hemp). The lightweight tan bags have a leather trim and are printed with the repeating double-G logo. To this day, the diamond-print Canapa bag remains one of the most instantly recognizable Gucci products.