Gucci vs Pucci: Discover the differences between Gucci and Pucci - two iconic Italian fashion brands that showcase the best of Italian style and creativity.

Updated 03:07 pm EST, February 27, 2024

Published 12:08 pm EST, February 27, 2024

Gucci vs Pucci

By Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta

Discover the differences between Gucci and Pucci - two iconic Italian fashion brands that showcase the best of Italian style and creativity.

By Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta

Updated 03:07 pm EST, February 27, 2024

Published 12:08 pm EST, February 27, 2024

Gucci vs Pucci… We all know Italy is punch drunk with an abundance of marvelous and creative fashion houses. Even Italian cities have unique styles. The whole country must be considered the birthplace of fashion creativity that drives trends and defines classics. Gucci and Pucci, although alliterative cousins represent vastly different aesthetics. These houses represent the past and future of Italian fashion, respectively. They represent tradition, financial success, and, more importantly, forward-looking designs that smirk to the rest of the world as they follow along their path to the future.

Fundamental Differences

The fun of analyzing these brands is their differences but also how they represent the best that Italy has to offer. But at first glance, you must ask how these two brands can possibly be compared. First, these brands’ founders are diametrically, spiritually, and fundamentally different. Pucci’s founder, Emilio Pucci, was born into incomparable Italian nobility with a sense of grandeur, privilege, and longevity. Guccio Gucci was born more modestly and was an early immigrant in Paris and then London. He started work as a porter in exclusive hotels, like the quintessentially British hotel, The Savoy. Nonetheless, both emerged as glorious examples of “la dolce vita” and have had an intensive global impact on how we dress and think of fashion.

Gucci Working Class vs Pucci is not

Guccio Gucci is the epitome of the phrase “working from the ground up.” He never was ashamed of this start as a porter in the Savoy Hotel. On the contrary, he was inspired by the fashionable and glittering guests who flittered through life as he served them. Using them as inspiration, Gucci returned to Italy to learn leather craftsmanship at Franzi, a luggage brand. After his education advanced, he launched his own business. In 1920, Gucci started by primarily selling expensive leather goods and focusing on luxury travel items. Still, later, the brand branched out into equestrian equipment as Gucci’s reputation for luxe quality began entrancing the British aristocracy, who adored horses and killing foxes.

Gucci vs Pucci: outside view of Savoy hotel, Britain's first luxury hotel in central London, opened in 1889 and closed in 2007 for renovations and reopened in October 2010, on March 7, 2014, London, UK.

On the other hand, Emilio Pucci was born in the ornate Pucci Palace, built for his family nearly 1,000 years ago. He was heir to one of Italy’s oldest noble families; his full name was Emilio Paolo Pucci dei Marchese di Barsento, referring to the family’s fiefdom on the Adriatic Sea. Emilio grew up in Pucci Palace, which contains a Botticelli painting showing the use of forks. Amusingly, family history indicates the Pucci family were pioneers in adopting the fork in Florence for the first time. Pucci started his fashion career in 1947 when he designed skiwear for the Reed College skiing team. His designs were sleek and modern, and initially, his friends demanded that Pucci create skiwear for them. This initial foray led to his designs getting broader attention when Harper’s Bazaar photographed his work. Interestingly, Pucci designed the first one-piece ski suit, exemplifying his modern, sleek aesthetic.

Gucci Adventure

While Pucci began with an elegant, smooth entry into the fashion world, Gucci preferred a more adventurous route.

Since its inception, The House of Gucci must be viewed through the lens of a grand histrionic opera. Though close to death multiple times, the Gucci brand is like the mythological phoenix whose relevance is cyclically regenerated. The brand has survived through family feuds, take-over attempts, a near-bankruptcy, a public listing, storybook turnarounds, and even a murder. There are few fashion houses as instantly recognizable as Gucci. From Tom Ford’s scandalously sexy and revealing clothes to Frida Gianni’s gorgeous ready-to-wear designs evoking the ultimate luxury of Italian aristocrats to Alessandro Michele’s gender-fluid, hippy crossed-with preppy designs.

Gucci vs Pucci: Gucci fashion store in Avenue Montaigne Paris, France. Avenue Montaigne is one of most upscale fashion shopping streets in Europe.

Since the ’90s, when Tom Ford first took the helm, Gucci has been the pinnacle of glamour and avant-garde aesthetics. It is a brand beloved by all tiers of life. Its clothes and accessories are incorporated into streetwear and eye-popping red-carpet clothes. Gucci shoved others aside with glee and continues to lead the fashion world in edgy creativity and glamour.

Pucci Inherits

More sedately, Pucci opened his first boutique in 1950 in Capri. The boutique was a vibrant space where celebrities, old money, and royalty mingled. The garments were inspired by Mediterranean landscapes. Pucci created a sophisticated color combination that utilized bright shades of lemon yellow, bougainvillea pink, lilac, azure blue, and pistachio green. Fashionable women binged on Pucci silk scarves, light two-piece suits, and sensual tight dresses to escape the restrictive fashions of the time.

Gucci vs Pucci: Pucci store in Milan, Montenapoleone area.

Later, Pucci fused abstract drawings, geometric figures, and patterns inspired by Palio of Siena, Bali Batiks, and African/ Sicilian mosaics into his now eponymous prints. Although the brand had lost steam in the ’80s and ’90s, it was due to Emilio taking his focus off design. He concentrated on his political career and questionable forays into video game-carrying cases and car interiors. Not the designs. Later, in 2021, the brand returned to the spotlight when LVMH took full ownership of it. Then, Camille Miceli, most recently creative director of accessories at Louis Vuitton, took creative control of Pucci. Her first designs came to the fore in May 2023. As creative director, Camille Micelli returned to where it all began on the island of Capri. She stated, “Pucci isn’t a conceptual brand; it’s a lifestyle brand, so its message has to be direct.”

Gucci's Invests

So which brand is more successful? By financial metrics, Gucci has few competitors, with approximately 7 billion dollars in revenue in 2022. But sales growth continues to slow across the luxury sector in 2023, with sales dropping by 14% in 2023. One of the main issues facing Gucci is that it lives and breathes fashion-forward design and luxury accessories, which are financially in conflict with each other. Fashion wants to constantly view the next trend, which requires extensive investments and can be eye-watering. In contrast, luxury items revel in the fact that quality goods can last for a lifetime.

Some people (including me) still get compliments on the street while wearing Gucci from Tom Ford or the Frida Gianni era. Now that Sabato De Sarno was appointed creative director, there will be concern about the future. Of course, Sabato is impressively creative and worthy of leading the house. However, in the past, each new creative leader of Gucci has conspicuously destroyed the immediate past to realize their new vision of the brand. Think of the transition from conservative, elegant Dawn Mello in the ’70s to the almost pornographic, sexy style of Tom Ford. Or the shock when Allesandro presented pussy-bow blouses for men when only six months prior Frida created hyper-aristocratic and CIS normative European clothes for the rich and their wannabe imitators.

Will Sabato De Sarno be allowed to make a new radical shift? Will such a dramatic turn even be financially viable to the brand? Nonetheless, in 2024, De Sarno will either follow his predecessors to uproot Gucci’s past or perhaps this time, he will focus on the brand’s DNA.

Pucci is Bought and Given a Chance

On the other hand, Pucci had revenues under $100M in 2023. Revenues that are respectable, but the brand certainly has room for financial growth and broader distribution. Now, Pucci has the committed attention of LVMH, which has had a positive year in revenue and sales. From an economic and growth perspective, it is safe to assume that Camille Micelli will absolutely be allowed to take a chance on her designs. With its established history, there is only room to grow for Pucci.

Creative Future

But aesthetically, how will these brands change or improve? Gucci is more well-known. Frankly, it provides clothes and accessories that lead the fashion world and can be formal, casual, funky, or severe as a Lutheran pastor in church. Pucci was and still is a party brand that evokes fun, color, and a retro view that vibrates as we head into the later part of this decade. Like Italy, these brands represent the entire “la dolce vita” spectrum, which includes elegance and a quirky sense of fun.

The fascinating issue is that one can never count out Gucci, no matter what the predictions and numbers may indicate. Who doesn’t remember the nadir when licensing went out of control, and the scion of the family was murdered? Yet we are now talking about a fashion and revenue leader who has been a staple of fashionistas for the past 30 years. On the other hand, Pucci never disappeared. It just took a rest. And even the vintage clothes from the ’60s remain looking fresh and terribly chic.

We at AVESSA love both brands. And while we may revel in the leitmotif of the adored double GGs, we don’t discount Pucci with its inherent nobility and sense of cool. Instead, we wait to see the impacts the current global culture of dissonance, intolerance, and violence will have on Gucci and Pucci. Maybe even Fiorucci?

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