How Gucci’s ‘toxic family’ feuds played out in its extravagant fashions

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Gucci! “It was a name that sounded so cute, so seductive,” Lady Gaga said at the opening of “House of Gucci,” the new film about the 1995 murder that rocked the historic fashion house.

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,[It was] Synonymous with wealth, style, power,” he continues in voiceover. “But the name was also a curse.”

What a silence! “The House of Gucci” unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, filled with back-stabbing, betrayal, murder, and more—all done in the most extravagant, over-the-top richness: pieces of silk and jewelry. Stacks of voluminous fur and va-va-voom fabric, double-G on the Gucci logo everything,


“What a toxic family they were,” Janty Yates, the film’s costume designer, told The Post. He added that real-life celebrities were just as outspoken – and flamboyant – as their on-screen counterparts: “We took [their looks] Quite straight out of the photographic context. ,

Lady Gaga is a social climbing fashionista in the “House of Gucci”.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

Here was Aldo Gucci, played by Al Pacino, a charming, larger-than-life leader with a penchant for women and tax evasion. Aldo had a son, Paolo – a bald, bald Jared Leto – the wayward heir who betrayed his 81-year-old father and landed him in prison in 1986. The tragic matinee idol was Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), who would reject his only son, Maurizio (Adam Driver), when he decided to get married under his station.

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And there was Patrizia Regiani (Gaga), the nouveau rich villain who captured Maurizio’s heart, prompting him to capture Gucci and kill him in cold blood when he no longer had any use for her. .

In 1959, Gucci was a go-to spot for upper crust, which included Grace Kelly and Monaco's husband Prince Ranier.
In 1959, Gucci was a go-to spot for upper crust, which included Grace Kelly and Monaco’s husband Prince Ranier.
Mondadori via Getty Images

They all did their respective parts perfectly, and filled Gucci’s original home with her singular flash and pizazz.

“It was a luxury home with a jet-set, international audience,” said Valerie Steele, director of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “A lot 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 provided leather goods and accessories to wealthy travelers. Guccio had a rather flashy style of his own—always sporting a luxury gold watch chain atop his massive belly—but his sons outgrew him.

Their eldest, Aldo, will turn Gucci into an empire, building out its iconic Horsebite loafers, bamboo-handle handbags, and red-and-green-striped branding. (He also started the rumor that Gucci comes from a family of great saddlemakers, a myth that persists today.)

Al Pacino as Natti Aldo in "House of Gucci".
Al Pacino as Natie Aldo in ‘House of Gucci’.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Aldo was insanely elegant. He was 6-foot-2. He was a ladies man,” said Yates of the feminine, blingy man about town. “They always had a buttonhole and a ‘boofy’ [voluminous] Silky pocket handkerchief, and a mismatched waistcoat and a big tie.”

Aldo modernized Gucci, and made it bigger and more in his face, while his younger brother Rodolfo (an iconic Jeremy Irons) had a more romantic style – plush velvet jackets and (all in vibrant jewel tones, silk cravats and robes) In the movie) plush pashmina shawls.

Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in "House of Gucci".
Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in ‘House of Gucci’
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Rodolfo had a very different sensibility,” said Sarah Gay Forden, author of the book “House of Gucci,” which inspired the film. Rodolfo, a former silent-film star, was “a very reserved, patrician gentleman,” Forden told The Post. “He initially didn’t want to go into the family business—he considered himself an actor—and wore a smoking jacket and brocade.”

While Aldo pioneered the house’s stunning designs—such as the Double-G logo canvas bag—Rodolfo created the brand’s now-iconic Flora print, notably as a scarf for Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.

Kelly “came near” [Milan] store, and he tried to give her a bamboo-handle bag, which was their signature product, but she declined and said, ‘Oh, no – that’s too much. Just something small… maybe a scarf,'” Forden said. Gucci didn’t make scarves at the time, but that didn’t stop Rodolfo, who called on a friend, the artist Vittorio Acornero, to design a scarf with a “cornucopia of flowers suitable for a princess.”

Lady Gaga plays the charming Patrizia Reggiano in "House of Gucci".
Lady Gaga plays the charming Patrizia Reggiano in “House of Gucci”.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

Rodolfo’s gloomy manner stems from the death of his beloved wife and co-star, Sandra, who died of uterine cancer at the age of 44, leaving widowed Rodolfo with 5-year-old Maurizio. Rodolfo never married again, and he spent the rest of his life working on films drawn from scenes from his and Sandra’s films and domestic films. He was so protective of Maurizio that he made his butler chase the boy in his car and spy on him.

Grace Kelly is wearing a silk scarf and dark sunglasses.
Gucci started making scarves at the request of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.
Bateman Archive

Maurizio – tall and elegant like his father, in a Seville Row suit and Gucci belt and loafers – remained devoted to Rodolfo until his father ousted him to marry the striving, Cross Patrizia. Yet the two eventually reconcile, and Maurizio, horrified by Gucci’s obscene expansion under his uncle Aldo and inspired by his ambitious wife, vows to bring Rodolfo’s good taste back to the brand.

Gucci didn’t begin selling clothing until the early 1970s, and Aldo put his son, Paolo (Jared Leto) in charge of designing ready-to-wear collections—mainly the brand’s famous scarves and more. All attractive leather tunics jackets and skirts.

“These are the years of Studio 54 and Liza Minnelli wearing a Gucci leather miniskirt,” Forden said. “So it was the hip—it was the epitome of calm.”

But by the 1980s, Paolo’s relationship with his father and uncle had soured. Paolo wanted to bring Gucci in a more youthful, trend-driven direction, and he himself demonstrated a more colorful, even gaudy style.

Jared Leto plays Paolo, an over-the-top dandy, in "House of Gucci."
Jared Leto plays Paolo, an over-the-top dandy in “House of Gucci”.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

“They called him ‘the dandy of dandy,'” costumer Yates said. “We banked Aldo tastefully, and we banked Paolo tastefully—with tucked-in waistcoats and big window checks and big billowing ties.”

Yates borrowed several items from the Gucci collection from this era for the film. One ensemble is a leather-trimmed tunic and matching pants covered in the Double-G logo that Gaga wears in the scene where she takes her maid of honor to a Gucci knockoff. Yet Patrizia herself — previously dazzled by the name Gucci — rarely wore Gucci clothes; The brand had become rather fashionable.

“She wore Saint Laurent, she wore Dior; she basically just Christmas tree-ed herself with her jewelry,” Yates said. (Patrizia also designed a short-lived jewelry line for the label, though it proved too pretentious for the family.) Still, she wanted to make Gucci great again, and pushed Maurizio to be Gaga’s voice in the film, “Take Out the Trash.”

“Like many fashion companies, Gucci overextended itself, and that made it less elitist,” said FIT’s Steele. From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, “they were pumping more things into wider markets, and because of this, prestige levels went down. And then came the shocking murder.” [The brand] Just seemed less shiny and shiny. ,

Adam Driver plays Maurizio in "House of Gucci".
Adam Driver plays Maurizio Gucci in ‘House of Gucci’.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

“People just didn’t know what Gucci meant,” Forden said. “Is this a plastic toilet kit, or is it actually a special leather bag with a bamboo handle?”

Gwyneth Paltrow wore a plush red Gucci suit designed by Tom Ford to the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
Gwyneth Paltrow wore a plush red Gucci suit designed by Tom Ford to the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
Filmmagic, Inc.

Maurizio tried to restore some elegance to the label. But he never saw his vision: to sell his shares of the company to members of his family, then after divorcing Patrizia, he ran Gucci to the ground and creative director Tom Ford released his sensational collection for 1995. started of. brand. Maurizio was assassinated a few weeks later.

Ironically, Ford reinstated Gucci not by running away from its excesses but by embracing them. Yates and her team recreated moments from their early iconic runways: navy-baring silk shirts, velvet jumpsuits, and even the Gucci thongs that propelled the brand to the heights of fashion.

It’s a deal that has served Gucci’s current creative director, Alessandro Michele, well. They’ve rediscovered household staples, dreaming up fur-lined horsebite boots and GG-emblazoned clothing with an extravagant magpie, gender-fluid bent.

“I feel like Gucci has kind of come full circle and really fused its past with its present,” Forden said. And it has fully embraced its scandalous past: “If you look at the runway, the model is wearing Maurizio Gucci’s signature aviator glasses.”


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