Aldo Gucci

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Aldo Gucci
Aldo Gucci.png
Gucci in 1964
Born26 May 1905
Died19 January 1990(1990-01-19) (aged 84)
Rome, Italy
Occupation
  • Businessman
  • fashion designer
Known forChairman of Gucci (1953–1986)
Spouse(s)
  • Olwen Price
    (m. 1927)
  • Bruna Palombo
    (m. 1981)
Children4, including Paolo and Patricia
Parent(s)
Relatives

Aldo Gucci (26 May 1905 – 19 January 1990) was an Italian personality and the chairman of Gucci from 1953 to 1986. He was the eldest son of Guccio Gucci, who founded the company bearing the family name in 1921.

Early life and family[edit]

Aldo Gucci was born on 26 May 1905 in Florence, into a Tuscan family dating back to the thirteenth century in the nearby town of San Miniato.[1] Aldo was the eldest of five children born to Aida Calvelli and Guccio Gucci.[2] He had three brothers – Vasco, Rodolfo and Enzo (who died aged nine), and a sister – Grimalda. He also had an adopted brother, Ugo, from his mother's previous relationship.

In his formative years he developed an interest in equestrianism and botany, which would later find its outlet in product design and a passion for gardening. At age sixteen he began part-time work in his father's first shop in via della Vigna Nuova in Florence. He had a degree in economics from San Marco College in Florence.[3]

Career[edit]

From the age of 20, Aldo began work full-time at Gucci. He went on to open the first shop outside of Florence, in Rome in 1938.[2][4]

Gucci became an overnight status symbol when the bamboo handbag was featured on Ingrid Bergman's arm in Roberto Rossellini's 1954 film "Viaggio in Italia". The GG insignia became an instant favorite of Hollywood celebrities and European royalty.

In 1952, Aldo traveled to New York City with his brothers Rodolfo and Vasco.[2] They opened the first store outside of Italy in New York City, only two weeks before their father's death.[2] President John F Kennedy heralded Aldo as the first Italian Ambassador to fashion[5] and he was awarded an honorary degree by the City University of New York in recognition of his philanthropic activity, described as the "Michelangelo of Merchandising".[6] He went on to open shops in Chicago, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills, before expanding to Tokyo, Hong Kong and in cities around the world through a global franchising network.

For over thirty years he was dedicated to the expansion of Gucci, developing the company into a vertically integrated business with its own tanneries, manufacturing and retail premises.

Later years[edit]

After their brother Vasco Gucci died in 1974, Rodolfo and Aldo divided the business between themselves 50/50.[7] However, Aldo's sons felt that Rodolfo had not contributed enough to the growth of the business.[7] In an attempt to increase his profits, Aldo set up a perfume subsidiary and held 80 percent of its ownership for himself and his three sons.[7] This rivalry eventually spiralled into family warfare.[7]

In 1980, Aldo's son Paolo Gucci attempted to launch his own business using the Gucci name, but Aldo disapproved and sued his son, threatening to cut off any Gucci supplier who signed on with Paolo. Seeking revenge, Paolo got Aldo removed from the company in 1984 with the help of his cousin Maurizio Gucci, who had recently become the majority shareholder.[8] In addition, Paolo also tipped off the IRS about his father's tax evasion.[9][10] In January 1986, Aldo Gucci was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for tax evasion, evading $7 million in New York. He was age 81 at the time of the sentencing. He did his time at the Federal Prison Camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.[11][12][13]

In 1989, a year before his death, Aldo sold his Gucci shares to Investcorp.[8] That same year, Maurizio was made chairman of the Gucci group following a nearly six-year legal battle for control over Gucci.[14][11] Maurizio did not have a background in business, and the business was in a dire economic and creative straits by 1993.[11] That year Maurizio Gucci resigned and sold his remaining interest to Investcorp, ending the Gucci family's association with the company.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Aldo married Olwen Price in 1927, together they had three sons – Giorgio, Paolo and Roberto.[15] He had an extra-marital affair with Bruna Palombo, together they had a daughter Patricia in 1963. Aldo married Bruna in 1981 in America, despite never divorcing Olwen in Italy.[16][17] He had homes in New York City, Palm Beach, Rome, Florence, Beverly Hills, London, and Paris.[3] Aldo Gucci died in Rome at the age of 84 of prostate cancer, in January 1990.[18] He was buried in the family mausoleum in Florence.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

In the film House of Gucci (2021), Aldo Gucci is played by American actor Al Pacino.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forden, Sara G (8 May 2012). The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. ISBN 9780062222671.
  2. ^ a b c d "Guccio Gucci". Fashion Elite. 20 September 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b Everett, Victoria; Bentley, Logan; Hauptfuhrer, Fred (6 September 1982). "Move Over, Dallas; Behind the Glittering Facade, a Family Feud Rocks the House of Gucci". People. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  4. ^ "via condotti store, rome". Gucci. 2 September 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ "The American | In Italia: At Large: History 102: Bloodied luxury". Theamericanmag.com. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  6. ^ Gaiter, Dorothy J. (3 June 1983). "AT 3 COMMENCEMENTS, RECOGNITION AND ADVICE". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Moore, Claire (7 January 2001). "PrimeTime: Gucci, Glamour and Greed". ABC News. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Family Feud: The Guccis". Today I Found Out. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  9. ^ "OBITUARY: Paolo Gucci". The Independent. 14 October 1995. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  10. ^ Shipp, E. R. (20 July 1982). "A Gucci Sues Relatives". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "Guccio Gucci". The Florentine. 17 June 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  12. ^ Moore, Claire (6 January 2006). "Greed, Glamour, Gucci Galore: A Family Tale". ABC News. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  13. ^ Engelberg, Stephen. "Taxes – News – Times Topics – The New York Times – Narrowed by 'TAX EVASION'". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2013.[failed verification]
  14. ^ "GUCCI RESTORES ITS TARNISHED IMAGE". Financial Review. 19 October 1990. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Widow Charges 'Fraud' in Gucci's Will". Los Angeles Times. 11 May 1990.
  16. ^ "Romance, intrigue, Gucci… and a Shropshire wedding". Shropshire Star. 4 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Bruna Gucci". MyHeritage. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  18. ^ a b Reuters (1990). "Aldo Gucci, 84; Expanded Fashion House in U.S." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  19. ^ "House of Gucci Cast vs. Real Life". E!. 29 July 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.

External links[edit]