Gucci. Iconic. Timeless. Never out of style. What more could you ask for in a bag? Well, Gucci’s bamboo-handle bag has been reinvented and popularised – and it’s giving us everything we need!
Gucci under Alessandro Michele is irreverently luxurious, with its no-holding-back maximalism that makes the brand (and the bag) what it is, after all.
Born out of Necessity
Coming into style in post-war Italy, the Gucci Bamboo was curated by designer Guccio Gucci and his team of Florentine artisans in 1947. Responding to a leather shortage, bamboo was used as a replacement to create “an incredibly durable and lightweight material that could be easily imported from Japan. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say,” per Harper’s Bazaar.
A homage to Gucci’s equestrian influences, the bag has a saddle-like shape, bamboo top handle and closure. It is also hand-made, lacquered and toasted, reflecting Gucci’s strive for perfection.
“Gucci patented this method and to this day, all of the brand’s bamboo handles are made this way, by expert artisans.”
A worldwide hit, this bamboo bag became a Gucci staple, lasting long after leather production resumed. And it was the help of the style icons of the time that made the bag the success it had.
Appearing in a number of films in the 1900s, the bag was drawing attention from all industries, not just fashion. According to Harper’s Bazaar, “Its cinematic debut was suitably dramatic”. It features amidst the ruins of Pompei’s Grande Palaestra in the 1954 film “Viaggio” in Italia. It also makes an appearance in two of Michelangelo Antonioni films. First, in “Le Amiche” and then in 60s thriller “Blow-Up” eleven years later.
And it wasn’t only the cinema that the bag made special appearances. In the 1990s, Princess Diana was rarely seen without her bamboo-handle tote.
In February 2022, Alessandro Michele unveiled the new ‘Gucci Bamboo 1947,’ which has been respectfully reimagines in Michele’s signature paintbox palette, in various sizes, and with the addition of a long strap (there is a leather and web option) – although Gucci poster boy Harry Styles prefers to carry his by the top handle, Ingrid Bergman-style.
There is also an extensive family of backpacks, bum bags, and tiny designs, all differentiated by bamboo hardware. In reminiscence of this iconic style, Alessandro Michele relaunched this tote as the Gucci Diana last year. The style is part of the “Gucci Beloved” collection.
Overall, the Gucci Bamboo proves to be a worthwhile acquisition – whether you keep it locked under a glass cloche or permanently snuggled upon your arm.
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