The end of year season feels hopeful this time around. Holidays, vacations, trips… travel is back on the menu, baby! And, as is the case with the start (or restart, as it were) of anything significant, that comes packaged with the potential for an upgrade and refresh.
One area you might soon be caught up with are your travel accoutrements. The specialised objects designed to pack your life in condensed form, to accompany you to places known and unknown. Where you might want to look is Gucci. You might think of the brand today for its kooky fashions by Alessandro Michele, but luggage is the real heritage core of the brand.
Back in 1899, before the Gucci brand was even founded, Guccio Gucci worked in London at the Savoy Hotel as a bellboy. There, he was exposed to the whims and fancies of the upper-crust jet- and train-set. Imagine, if you will, the comings and goings of a beautiful, international crowd; back at a time when travel dictated sets of matching hard-sided trunks, dedicated hatboxes… the stuff of glamour and escape.
It's a powerful picture, and Guccio Gucci was amply inspired. Upon his return to his hometown of Florence, the enterprising Italian founded his own artisanal luggage atelier in 1921. The earliest assortment of Gucci products were chiefly travel-related, with some leather goods peppered here and there. In the '30s, in fact, the founder even created brass tags on his luggage with playful porter motifs that nod to the house's origin story.
"Travel for Gucci was never purely physical," wrote the brand's Creative Director Alessandro Michele in press notes for its Valigeria travel collection. For Michele, who's a man taken with the romance and fantasy of old Hollywood, that evokes for him the artists, writers, actors and directors of Hollywood on their journeys.
That inspiration was perhaps the reason the brand cast actor, screenwriter, director and musician Ryan Gosling as the face of its Valigeria travel campaign. "I wanted the advertising campaign," says Michele of the Glen Luchford-lensed photos, "to recount a situationist dimension where the protagonist traverses a "non-place" that is first and foremost a mental place, the same as those who, in the past and present, choose Gucci because they grasp the significance of creativity used to build imaginary places." That concept in mind, Gucci suitcases become "magical" objects that transport one to faraway places, places of discovery and diversity of cultures.
Within its broad travel assortment, the Gucci Savoy collection is the most heritage-inspired. It's designed with details like the GG monogram on canvas, the green-red Web stripe, both hard- and soft-sided formats, and a variety of specialised cases for almost every travel need.
Trolleys, for one, range from cabin-sized to maxi 90cm versions, and come in monogrammed GG Supreme fabric in beige-brown, beige-blue and beige-ivory colourways, with Web stripes and leather trims. Those details are also carried over to duffle bags, which range in size from everyday carry to larger ones that work as weekenders and carry-ons. There are also styles like bowling bags and totes; box totes, garment and suit bags; watch cases and vanity cases. And if you really like old school luggage, Gucci have also got a range of artisanal hard-sided trunks and cases. An ideal, really, of that special image of trunks stacked on a bellhop's luggage trolley.
The Gucci Valigeria travel collection is available now in boutiques and online.
All photoscourtesy of Gucci