How Gucci secures the bag

A Case Study of Leveraging Consistency, History, and Lust to Create Great Accessory Campaigns

By Mark Wittmer

The power of Gucci is inescapable: the name of the brand alone is almost a magic word, evoking dreamlike associations of decadence, vintage whimsy and the sultry suppleness of a perfectly crafted leather bag.

While the reasons for the house’s success are manifold, a constant component during current creative director Alessandro Michele’s tenure has been excellent advertising campaigns. These campaigns communicate the mythical and elegant brand identity of Gucci on a large scale, and have notably contributed to making its accessories one of the most coveted pieces on the contemporary fashion scene. What are the secrets of the brand’s ever-successful accessory campaigns? How does Gucci maintain such a mystical hold on our collective imagination?

Main characteristics

Narration: Drawing on decades of history punctuated with beloved design moments, Gucci sees itself as an unfolding story – a story any independent personality can be a part of, provided they have the means and the style.

Eclectic but coherent: Even with all of its distinct characters and storylines, the brand maintains an instantly recognizable image in all of its communications, an impressive visual cohesion that is largely due to the creative collaboration between Alessandro Michele and art director Christopher Simmonds.

Totemic power: As part of its astute design heritage, Gucci’s campaign communication aptly positions its pieces – especially its bags – as almost mystical artefacts, powerful symbols that imbue their wearer with an unmistakable aura and connect them to the wider world. home creative.

Drawing inspiration from the whimsical yet refined designs of Alessandro Michele, Creative Director Christopher Simmonds has developed an immersive and iconic visual world through Gucci’s campaign communications.

Nostalgic and dreamy yet exuding a contemporary twist, each campaign forms a new chapter in a story that unfolds in that space between fantasy and reality.

Simmonds and Michele have also teamed up with a range of cult visionary filmmakers, like Yorgos Lanthimos, who created the highly memorable ‘Of Course a Horse’ campaign, which set the house’s iconic equestrian-inspired accessories in a dreamy reimagining. from ’70s Los Angeles, or Harmony Korine, who cooked up a number of fantastic campaigns, including the brilliant “The Beloved Show,” a surreal talk show that spotlights iconic celebrity personalities and their iconic bags.

“We decided to show the concept of ‘beloved’ in an ironic way in the campaign, inspired by the fact that bags are the protagonists of my life and the lives of many other people,” Michele explained. “We’ve gone back in time to the original television talk shows, where the protagonist is the bag itself, the big star. Very often these designs are named after influential women who shaped the ways and customs of many. It’s precisely because they have big personalities that in the industry we gave them these powerful names; and now we have them in a show and twisted with the idea that there were two stars: the bag and real talent A game of cross-references between the two great protagonists.

More recently, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its bamboo top-handle bags, Gucci shared “Kaguya,” a beautiful and dreamy short film from creative director Toshihiko Tanabe and director Makoto Nagahisa that tells a classic Japanese myth through a lens. dazzling and contemporary.

Although they branch off in many directions, Alessandro and Simmonds do an impressive job of uniting each chapter into an aesthetic identity that, while distinct, is also unmistakably Gucci.

This whimsical, nostalgic yet contemporary visual rhapsody is also underpinned by a careful focus on the power of music, with various campaign soundtracks or musical collaborations alluding to a rummaging through the trash can of vintage records by an eccentric and sensitive tastemaker.

Within these distinct narratives, Gucci invites an eclectic cast of personalities to embody its stories, effortlessly setting an example of diversity and inclusion that flows organically from the company’s ethos of independence, self-expression and idiosyncratic beauty. Mark. This commitment was particularly highlighted in the brand’s Jackie Bag Fall 2020 campaign, which featured all non-binary designs, a progressive and striking way to affirm that these bags can be for anyone and everyone.

Meanwhile, these characters are painted as almost mythical figures: through their connection with these pieces that bear witness to an iconic heritage of clever design, these powerful tools of personality, they become the guardians of Gucci’s legacy that will guide it to the future. There’s definitely an aura around items that have the designation of “luxury,” and Gucci does one of the smartest jobs at filling that perceived energy with meaning, communicating the fantastical through a very real object.

The house wisely uses its experimental digital retail space, Gucci Vault, to reinforce its connection to design history and heritage and leverage distinct pieces as coveted artifacts or symbols of one’s eye. knowledgeable collector.

Through this platform, the house sells unique vintage pieces “selected by Gucci’s creative director and archivists for their particularity and character, and reconditioned by the house’s artisans”. The platform also functions as a boutique for other brands and designers curated by the Gucci team, as well as a gallery for collaborations with both physical and digital artists, expanding the house’s status as a key figure at the intersection of art, fashion and culture. .