Evening ensemble

Design House: Gucci (Italian, founded 1921)

Designer: Tom Ford (American, born 1961)

Date: fall/winter 1996–97

Culture: Italian

Medium: rayon, brass

Credit Line: Gift of Gucci, 1999

Accession Number: 1999.136.3a, b


Guccio Gucci founded his saddlery and leather goods company in Florence in 1906. By 1923, the company was manufacturing handbags for a substantial clientele. Aldo Gucci invented the Gucci double-G logo by transposing his father's initials onto handbags, shoes, and other leather goods, simultaneously initiating the brand name–driven consumer fashion system. Citing the success of the logo, Aldo soon created a signature trim as well: the green and red twill ribbon that can still be found on Gucci products today.
The marketing genius and creative vision of Tom Ford, named head designer at Gucci in 1994, has helped the company prevail in the luxury goods market. Ford has revived signature Gucci handbag lines featuring the now-iconic logo fabric and the exquisite bamboo handle, but the designer has also catalyzed a new image for Gucci by producing couture-quality garments that find classical or historical referents in their construction and silhouette. This piece exhibits the stunning simplicity of a draped white jersey, yet midriff cutouts allow the raw sex appeal that has become linked to Ford's aesthetic. The large brass buckled belt is a clear homage to the company's roots in luggage and handbag production.