|Me with Emily of Fashion Foie Gras, Tina of Bag Snob & Sandra of Sandra’s Closet|
In some ways it was exactly what I expected the heart of one of the world’s oldest and biggest luxury brands to be. In others, it was quite the opposite. We were treated to a guided tour of the factory, encompassing every stage of production from selecting exotic skins to the art of bamboo bending. As you’d imagine, the place was vast and highly efficient, with expert craftspeople catering to every area of expertise and taking painstaking care to create only the finest quality things. What with Gucci’s emphasis on sticking to traditional methods and the fact that most of their artisans have working been there for about thirty years, I expected the factory to be somewhat aged and crumbly. Naturally that was not the case and the whole place was sleek, ultra modern and ever-so-slightly terrifying. The impressive, laboratory-esque studios were somewhat at odds with the hundred year old processes used to create their exquisite accessories, but I suppose that contrast is what makes them the best.
|Handmade Fabrics… Including the one made using a wooden loom (see fun facts below)|
|A craftsman cutting skins by hand…|
|The top-secret prototyping studio…|
|That travel trunk…|
|Claudio bending bamboo for bag handles|
Having spent over two hours being talked through the design process by a series of experts I could easily ramble on about it all day. Instead I thought I’d keep things short and (hopefully) sweet by sharing a few of my fave factory facts…
1) Exotic skins such as Python, Crocodile, Ostritch and Anaconda are known as the “noble skins”
2) Craftsmen have to spend a minimum of 5 years working with standard leathers before being allowed to gradually progress on to cutting noble skins.
3) One hand-finished fabric (above) is still made on wooden looms using a method that dates back to the 18th century.
4) Gucci’s artisans are the only remaining craftsmen alive who know how to use this method.
5) Only 100 metres of this fabric is produced each year as even the most skilled craftsman can only make a maximum of 15cm per hour.
6) Every single sample for every single collection is handmade an entire year in advance in Gucci’s super secret prototyping studio.
7) The AMAZING travel trunk (above) is only available to order and takes a whole month for two craftsmen to make by hand.
8) Said trunk costs €30,000 in fabric and a whopping €240,000 in Crocodile skin.
9) For their trademark bamboo handles Gucci only use the root of a specific type of Chinese bamboo. This is pretty difficult to get hold of as in only grows 10 milimetres per year.
10) Every single bamboo handle is bent by hand over an open flame (ok, a blowtorch, but open flame sounds way cooler) by the lovely Claudio.
Love Ella. X