Gucci! “It was a name that sounded so sweet, so seductive,” purrs Lady Gaga in the opening of “House of Gucci,” the brand new film in regards to the 1995 homicide that rocked the historic trend home.
“[It was] synonymous with wealth, style, power,” she continues in voiceover. “But the name was a curse, too.”
What an understatement! “House of Gucci” unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, crammed with backstabbing, betrayal, homicide and extra — all executed in probably the most extravagant, over-the-top opulence: silk cravats and piles of jewels, huge furs and va-va-voom attire, double-G Gucci logos on ev-er-y-thing.
“What a toxic family they were,” Janty Yates, the costume designer for the movie, informed The Post. She added that the real-life personalities had been simply as flagrant — and flamboyant — as their on-screen counterparts: “We took [their looks] fairly directly from photographic reference.”
There was Aldo Gucci, played right here by Al Pacino, the gregarious, larger-than-life chief with a penchant for ladies and tax evasion. There was Aldo’s son, Paolo — a paunchy, balding Jared Leto — the wayward inheritor who betrayed his 81-year-old dad and put him in jail in 1986. There was tragic matinee idol Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), who would disown his solely son, Maurizio (Adam Driver), when he determined to marry beneath his station.
And there was Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), the nouveau riche villainess who captured Maurizio’s coronary heart, drove him to take over Gucci and had him killed in chilly blood when he had no use for her anymore.
They all dressed their elements to the hilt, and infused the actual home of Gucci with its singular flash and pizazz.
“It was a luxury house that had a jet-set, international audience,” stated Valerie Steele, director of the Museum on the Fashion Institute of Technology. “Lots of movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and celebrities like Jackie Kennedy bought Gucci … It was glamorous.”
Founded in 1921 by former bellhop Guccio Gucci, Gucci initially supplied leather-based baggage and items to wealthy vacationers. Guccio himself had somewhat snazzy fashion — all the time sporting a luxe gold watch chain over his huge stomach — however his sons outshone him.
His eldest, Aldo, would flip Gucci into an empire, creating its iconic Horsebit loafers, bamboo-handle purse and red-and-green-striped branding. (He additionally began the rumor that Gucci got here from a household of noble saddle-makers, a fantasy that persists to at the present time.)
“Aldo was very sartorially elegant. He was 6-foot-2. He was a ladies’ man,” stated Yates of the womanizing, blingy man about city. “He always had a buttonhole and a ‘boofy’ [voluminous] silk pocket handkerchief, and a non-matching waistcoat and a big tie.”
Aldo modernized Gucci, and made it larger and extra in-your-face, whereas his youthful brother Rodolfo (a dignified Jeremy Irons) had a extra romantic fashion — all plush velvet jackets in vibrant jewel tones, silk cravats and robes and (in the film) luxurious pashmina shawls.
“Rodolfo had a very different sensibility,” stated Sara Gay Forden, writer of the ebook “House of Gucci,” which impressed the film. Rodolfo, a former silent-film star, “was very much a reserved, patrician gentleman,” Forden informed The Post. “He hadn’t even wanted to go into the family business in the beginning — he fancied himself an actor — and he wore smoking jackets and brocades.”
While Aldo originated the home’s showier designs — just like the double-G emblem canvas baggage — Rodolfo created the model’s now-iconic Flora print, particularly as a shawl for Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.
Kelly “had come to the [Milan] store, and he tried to give her a bamboo-handle bag, which was their signature product, but she demurred and said, ‘Oh, no — that’s too much. Just something small … Maybe a scarf,’” stated Forden. Gucci didn’t make scarves on the time, however that didn’t deter Rodolfo, who known as a good friend, the artist Vittorio Accornero, and requested him to design a shawl with “a cornucopia of flowers that would be fit for a princess.”
Rodolfo’s melancholy method stemmed from the demise of his beloved spouse and co-star, Sandra, who died at age 44 of uterine most cancers, leaving the widowed Rodolfo with 5-year-old Maurizio. Rodolfo by no means married once more, and he spent the remainder of his life engaged on a film crafted from scenes from his and Sandra’s movies and residential films. He was so protecting of Maurizio that he had his butler comply with the boy round in his automobile and spy on him.
Maurizio — tall and chic like his father, in Savile Row fits and Gucci belts and loafers — remained dedicated to Rodolfo till his father disinherited him for marrying the striving, crass Patrizia. Yet the 2 ultimately reconciled, and Maurizio, horrified by the vulgar enlargement of Gucci below his uncle Aldo and spurred by his bold spouse, vowed to carry Rodolfo’s good style again to the model.
Gucci didn’t begin hawking garments till the early Nineteen Seventies, and Aldo had put his son, Paolo (Jared Leto), in cost of designing the ready-to-wear collections — primarily tunics sewn from the model’s well-known scarves and plenty of flashy leather-based jackets and skirts.
“These are the years of Studio 54 and Liza Minnelli wearing Gucci leather miniskirts,” stated Forden. “So it was hip — it was the epitome of cool.”
But by the Nineteen Eighties, Paolo’s relationship together with his father and uncle had soured. Paolo wished to carry Gucci in a younger, trend-driven route, and he himself exhibited a extra colourful, even garish fashion.
“They called him ‘the dandy’s dandy,’” stated costumer Yates. “We did Aldo tastefully dandy, and we did Paolo tastelessly dandy — with clashing waistcoats and big windowpane checks and big billowing ties.”
Yates borrowed a number of objects from the Gucci archive from this period for the movie. One ensemble is a leather-trimmed tunic and matching pants lined in the double-G emblem that Gaga wears in the scene the place she discovers her maid carrying a Gucci knockoff. Yet Patrizia herself — at first dazzled by the Gucci title — hardly ever wore Gucci garments; the model had change into somewhat retro.
“She wore Saint Laurent, she wore Dior; she basically just Christmas tree-ed herself up with her jewelry,” stated Yates. (Patrizia even designed a short-lived jewellery line for the label, although it proved too ostentatious even for the household.) Still, she wished to make Gucci nice once more, and pushed Maurizio to, as Gaga voices in the movie, “take out the trash.”
“Like many fashion companies, Gucci overextended itself, and that made it seem less elite,” stated FIT’s Steele. From the mid-Nineteen Eighties to the early Nineteen Nineties, “they were pumping out more things to wider markets, and because of that, the prestige level went down. And then there was the shocking murder. [The brand] just seemed less shiny and glittery.”
“People just didn’t know what Gucci meant anymore,” stated Forden. “Is it a plastic GG toilet kit, or is it a really special leather bag with a bamboo handle?”
Maurizio tried to revive some magnificence to the label. But he by no means obtained to see his imaginative and prescient take: After tricking his relations into promoting their shares of the corporate, then divorcing Patrizia, he ran Gucci to the bottom and was ousted by the point inventive director Tom Ford debuted his sensational 1995 assortment for the model. Maurizio was killed simply weeks later.
Ironically, Ford restored Gucci not by operating away from its excesses however by embracing them. Yates and her staff re-created moments from his early iconic runways: the navel-baring silk shirts, the velvet jumpsuits and even Gucci thongs that catapulted the model into the peak of trend.
It’s a tack that has served Gucci’s present inventive director, Alessandro Michele, nicely. He’s reinvented the home’s staples, dreaming up fur-lined Horsebit sneakers and GG-emblazoned clothes with an extravagantly magpie, gender-fluid bent.
“I feel like in a way Gucci’s come full circle and really connected its past with its present,” stated Forden. And it has absolutely embraced its scandalous previous: “If you look on the runway, the models are wearing Maurizio Gucci’s signature aviator glasses.”