One industry is filled with more drama than any other, and it isn’t acting – the fashion industry has always been known for its addiction to a good scandal and the rise and fall of its star designers, muses, and models. The Gucci family legacy is no different. In a synopsis that reads more like an Italian soap opera than an autobiography, Patricia Gucci‘s new book, In the Name of Gucci tells the story of her relationship with her father, Aldo Gucci.
In a time when extramarital affairs and children out of wedlock were illegal in Italy, Aldo Gucci fathered a daughter with his lover, Bruna. Bruna was sent to England to give birth to Patricia, and Patricia was unaware that her father was married with another family until she was ten. Fast forward a few decades, and when Aldo Gucci’s three sons tried to overthrow him at Gucci in a coup – he named Patricia Gucci his sole heir, and she was the first female family member named to the Gucci Board of Directors. Patricia then spent years as a roving ambassador for Gucci and emerging in the fashion spotlight, once a secret child born from an affair. Meet the original #GirlBoss.
Patricia’s new book comes out on May 10th, but I had the privilege of getting to interview the direct Gucci descendant and getting a copy of the book a few weeks before its release.
This is the first book ever written by a Gucci descendant. It has been the first opportunity that Patricia has had to speak on her relationship with her father. “For 10 years I was under a gag order from the buyers of the Gucci business. During that time I felt that the new owners had swept my father’s legacy under the rug, which was deeply upsetting for me. In books published after his death he was described in a way that left me feeling very uncomfortable. Not only because he wasn’t getting the recognition I felt he deserved, but because he was portrayed in a manner that was altogether different from the man my mother and I knew.”
Patricia’s relationship with her father was never documented in most media as one of father and daughter, it was often viewed at as a business relationship. But In the Name of Gucci pulls back the curtain and exposes more of those intimate moments. “[My favorite memories are] my memories of our time in Palm Beach are probably the fondest. He loved the Florida sunshine and was always so relaxed there. At the end of the day we would walk across the street to a bar on Worth Avenue for cocktails and I would always order a Shirley Temple.”
One of the most important things I wanted to ask Patricia was what did she want readers to take away from the new book, especially since she chose such a pivotal time to release such a memoir. She mused, “My hope is that having an appreciation of the company’s history will add to people’s appreciation for the brand today. Aldo Gucci was the one who put the company on the world stage. My aim is also to show a more human side to the formidable chairman who ‘ruled the company with an iron fist,’ revealed by the love letters bestowed by my mother.”
Of course, while I made sure to ask about the book, the current state of fashion and Gucci could not go unasked. How does Patricia feel that Gucci is maintaining the legacy today, as she no longer holds a place within the company? “The brand’s staying power all comes down to the quality and craftsmanship that was established by my father and set the stage for its success. Everyone wanted something with ‘GG’ and at some point or another a bag, belt, a pair of shoes or even a keychain became a prized possession.” Isn’t that the truth – who hasn’t wanted something with an iconic ‘GG’?
Finally, what about the current Gucci designer and the epidemic regarding the constant over-turning of designers? “As an outsider, I think he [Alessandro Michele] looks like a perfect fit and I hope he lasts more than the customary 2-3 years. My instincts tell me he will; I have a good feeling.”
Patricia Gucci’s book In the Name of Gucci is a must-read for fashion enthusiasts, or anyone looking for a story of a father and his daughter – catch it on May 10th.