|Born||26 May 1905|
|Died||19 January 1990 (aged 84)|
|Occupation||Businessman and fashion designer|
|Known for||Chairman of Gucci Shops Inc.|
|Children||4, including Patricia Gucci|
|Relatives||Rodolfo Gucci (brother)|
Early life and familyEdit
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. Aldo was the eldest of five children born to Aida Calvelli and Guccio Gucci. 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.
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. They opened the first store outside of Italy in New York City, only two weeks before their father's death. President John F Kennedy heralded Aldo as the first Italian Ambassador to fashion 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". 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.
After their brother Vasco Gucci died in 1974, Rodolfo and Aldo divided the business among themselves 50/50. However, Aldo's sons felt that their uncle had not contributed enough to the growth of the business. In an attempt to increase his profits, Aldo set up a perfume subsidiary and held 80 percent of ownership for himself and his three sons. This rivalry eventually spiralled into family warfare.
In 1977, Aldo made his son Paolo vice-president and managing director of Gucci Shops Inc. and of Gucci Parfums of America. In 1980, Paolo Gucci attempted to launch his own business using the Gucci name, and this provoked a series of lawsuits by relatives, including his father.
Paolo ratted out his father for tax evasion. In January 1986, Aldo Gucci was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for tax evasion, evading $7 million dollars 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. Aldo was employed by the House of Gucci until 1986.
After Rodolfo's death, Maurizio Gucci inherited his father’s majority stake in the company. In 1988, Maurizio Gucci sold almost 47.8% of Gucci to the Bahraïn-based investment fund Investcorp (owner of Tiffany & Co since 1984), and withheld the other 50%. He launched a legal battle with his uncle Aldo. In 1989, Maurizio Gucci was made chairman of the Gucci group. Maurizio did not have a background in business, and the business was in a dire economic and creative straits by 1993. That year Maurizio Gucci resigned, and after 66 years as a family-owned business and he sold his remaining interest to Investcorp.
Personal life and deathEdit
Aldo was married to Olwen Price, together they had three sons – Giorgio, Paolo and Roberto. He had an adulterous affair with Bruna Palombo, who bore Patricia in 1963, out of wedlock. He married Palumbo, in Palm Springs, California in 1987.
He had homes in New York City, Palm Beach, Rome, Florence, Beverly Hills, London, and Paris.
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In 2016, Patricia Gucci published a memoir, “In the Name of Gucci,” about her life and her parents’ relationship, which began in secret and lasted 30 years. Aldo Gucci, her father, was already married and had three sons when he met her mother, a sales clerk in the Rome store; they began an affair at a time when adultery was illegal in Italy.
- Reuters (1990). "Aldo Gucci, 84; Expanded Fashion House in U.S." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 November 2017.