There's a good read about the tumultuous history of the Italian luxury brand Gucci in Slate this week
(which was originally published in Departures
.) Today the casual fashionista probably knows the designer label as a result of the efforts of Tom Ford, who sexed up its then-stale reputation in the 90s with just enough vulgarity to titillate but without descending into sleaziness (of course, the prices helped with that). In fact, its history dates back to 1921, when Guccio Gucci opened a small shop in Florence. Along the way, we find out that the iconic diamond print was the result of a leather shortage during WWII and that all of the label's leather goods, shoes, and ready-to-wear are still produced in Italy—a way for the company to honor its importance to the Italian economy and the country's cultural history.