During the 18th and 19th Centuries, the expression “the empire on which the sun never sets” was quite accurately applied to the British Empire. Indeed, maps of the empire, which typically showed British colonies in red, revealed that, whatever the time of day it was, it was daytime quite literally somewhere in the empire.
Suffice it to say, by 1889, London lay at the heart of the most extensive empire the world had ever seen; incidentally, it was also the year that the luxurious Savoy Hotel opened and the ornate Tower Bridge was under construction.
Considered the world’s largest port, and the heart of international finance and trade, it was without doubt, a global city of immense importance. If all roads led to Rome, every ship and every individual of importance was drawn to London, a nexus of travel and prestige. It was here, during the golden age of the steamship and the arrival of the industrial revolution leading to the nascent rise of cross country travel by railway, that Guccio Gucci found himself at the Savoy Hotel in 1899, 10 years after its doors opened.
While little is known about his early life circumstances or what influenced his move to the capital of the world, historical evidence can lead one to infer that luxurious accommodations, impeccable service, attention to detail and the wealthiest, most fashionable patrons of The Savoy that young Gucci had ever seen would have most probably left an indelible impression on the enterprising lad.
For it is a go-to destination for the international jet set, there is no question that Gucci encountered the magic of travel and all that it entails: the excitement and energy of discovery, discussion, study and the confluence of diverse cultures and aesthetics, distilled into potent imagination. Inspired by his observations of the guests and the beautiful items that accompanied them, Guccio returned to Florence and founded his own artisanal luggage atelier in 1921.
Although the brand initially focused on creating high quality leather goods, including luggage, handbags and other accessories, it wasn’t until the 1950s and ʼ60s that Gucci became known worldwide for its luxury travel bags and luggage; but beyond its status as an “It” bag today, a suitcase is more than a mere container for your garments.
“GUCCI VALIGERIA IS A POWERFUL REMINDER OF OUR FLORENTINE ROOTS AND OUR TIMELESS CRAFT. IT IS A SYMBOL OF OUR LEGACY, REINTERPRETED THROUGH THE AGES FOR THE TRAVELLERS AND MODERN-DAY EXPLORERS OF EVERY ERA. PARIS’S RUE SAINT-HONORÉ IS THE PERFECT LOCATION TO HOUSE OUR FIRST GUCCI VALIGERIA BOUTIQUE, OFFERING PORTAL INTO OUR EVER-EXPANDING WORLD OF TRAVEL AND DISCOVERY.”– MARCO BIZZARRI, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF GUCCI
It is a promise of adventure and the catalyst of expectation. Before one even arrives at their destination, the packing of a travel bag conjures the sights and smells and the very wonders of their intended getaway. It is, in essence, lightning in a bottle and what Gucci has achieved, and metaphorically, “lightning in a luggage”.
Indeed, travel for Gucci was never purely physical. Gucci is the brand that accompanied the artists, writers, actors and directors of Hollywood on their journeys. As envisioned by every creative director since Guccio himself, a Gucci bag is a sign of things to come; therefore, it is a mental place in the past and present, representing one’s imagination of the future.
It is for this reason that a Gucci suitcase, holdall or travel bag can be perceived as something magical akin to Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Displacement from the certainties of one’s social environment, pursuit of the unexpected joins the will to encounter and assimilate a culture other than one’s own; Guccioʼs return to Florence saw a global reality that he observed ready to be transferred into the hands of an artisan.
Dream given form, Guccio Gucci wove it into his first suitcases, trunks, bags and hat boxes. All the containers required to bring with oneself and belongings on a journey, their emblems of identity and one’s culture to foreign lands and new frontiers.
Circa the 21st century, the Gucci Savoy collection has been updated to include trolleys, hard and soft suitcases, duffle bags, trunks, hat boxes and beauty cases. A part of the House’s wider Gucci Valigeria travel selection, the Savoy collection is distinguished by a combination of heritage infused design elements including the GG monogram and/or the equestrian-inspired Web stripe, offered in both soft and hard sided iterations. The collection comprises items for every travel need, designed to be used now and for many years to come as classic and contemporary elements come together within a timeless aesthetic.
Rediscover Travel According To Gucci
“Gucci Valigeria is a powerful reminder of our Florentine roots and our timeless craft,” says Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci. “It is a symbol of our legacy, reinterpreted through the ages for the travellers and modern-day explorers of every era. Paris’s Rue Saint-Honoré is the perfect location to house our first Gucci Valigeria boutique, offering portal into our ever-expanding world of travel and discovery.”
Located at 229 Rue Saint-Honoré, nestled between Place Vendôme and Jardin des Tuileries, the first permanent Gucci Valigeria boutique is a two-floor space whose interiors draw inspiration from luxury travel during the Belle Époque. Intimate and refined, the décor evokes the atmosphere of an elegant vintage railway carriage as dark walnut furniture and finishes are contrasted by neutral-toned canvas surfaces.
Shelving is marked by spiral columns with ovate lamps and accented by engraved lion’s head details, while the coved ceiling showcases a brash mesh-coated plafond that reflects the light, creating a warm glow. The ground floor maintains the original reconditioned parquet while the floor above features a tartan loom-woven carpet. A capitonnée banquette is overlooked by a brass shelf that recalls the luggage rack of a traditional train, and the interiors are complemented by reinterpretations of luggage carts envisioned for window displays.
These objects encapsulating experiences and desires also exhibit our favourite trolleys, which range in size from cabin-friendly all the way up to a maxi 90 cm version and are offered in GG Supreme in beige/brown, beige/blue and beige/ivory colourways with the green-red-green or blue-red-blue Web stripe and leather trims.
Also on display is its more contemporary cousin – aluminium trolleys created in collaboration with Italian luxury luggage-maker FPM Milano. If wanderlust strikes you, the boutique showcases a curated selection of duffle bags, ranging from smaller versions for daily use to larger ones ideal for weekend trips or as carry-ons.
Styles come in various colourways, with some featuring distinctive details like leather trims and studs. The line-up also encompasses additional new silhouettes like bowling bags, bowling totes and box totes. Garment bags, watch cases and vanity cases round out the soft selection. Each piece is finely crafted and distinguished by either the House’s GG monogram and/or the Web stripe, with several featuring more contemporary details such as studs.