Where to buy the Gucci Bamboo bag
Alessandro Michele’s Gucci may be synonymous with irreverent and luxurious maximalism, but you might be surprised to find that one of the house’s most iconic bags was created from rarity.
The Gucci Bamboo – then known only by its product number, 0633 – was born in 1947, in post-war Italy. Designer Guccio Gucci and his team of Florentine artisans have responded to the not-so-small problem of a leather shortage by outfitting their latest bag with a distinctive handle (and twist-lock closure) crafted from bamboo – a Incredibly durable and lightweight material that could be easily imported from Japan. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.
Although its materiality was born of austerity, the 0633 bag was otherwise anything but. Its saddle-like shape – a tribute to Gucci’s equestrian influences – was curvaceous, beautiful and its defining characteristics (this bamboo top handle and closure) have been painstakingly hand-handled, lacquered and toasted to brilliant perfection. In fact, Gucci patented this method and to this day, all of the brand’s bamboo handles are made this way, by expert craftsmen.
Needless to say, the Gucci Bamboo was a hit (and continued to be, long after leather production resumed) – with a little help from the era’s most imitated stars, the screen and off screen. His cinematic debut was suitably dramatic, clutched by a leather-gloved Ingrid Bergman – alongside a matching bamboo-handled umbrella – amid the ruins of Pompeii’s Grand Palaestra in the 1954 film V.iaggio in Italy. He also appeared in not one but of them Films by Michelangelo Antonioni, first on the arm of Eleonora Rossi Drago in 1955 The Friend then 11 years later, worn by a Vanessa Redgrave in a mini-skirt, in the 60s thriller Explode. Liz Taylor and Grace Kelly were also fans.
If you prefer plush tote bags with the perfect structure of the original Gucci Bamboo, you wouldn’t be alone. In the 1990s, Princess Diana was rarely seen without her bamboo-handled tote – a roomier, less formal style that worked not only with her much-copied sweatshirt and bike shorts looks, but also with the uniform chic and casual blazers. , jeans and moccasins. Last year, Alessandro Michele relaunched this iconic tote as the Gucci Diana, immortalizing it as part of the “Gucci Beloved” collection – a series of reissued iconic bags – and casting off a new generation of tote wearers in bamboo, including Alexa Chung, Jodie Turner-Smith and Elle Fanning.
The original 0633 bag is as relevant in 2022 as it was in mid-century – a testament to its timeless design – though it now bears a name more befitting of its iconic status. Alessandro Michele unveiled the new ‘Gucci Bamboo 1947’ in February 2022, and as its modern moniker suggests, it’s been respectfully redesigned in Michele’s signature paint box palette, in different sizes and with the addition of a long strap (there’s a leather and web option) – although Gucci poster designer Harry Styles prefers to carry his by the top handle, Ingrid Bergman-style. There’s also an extended family of backpacks, fanny packs and mini styles – all distinguished by bamboo hardware, of course.
The Gucci Bamboo is not only a wardrobe essential (for 75+ years), but as its cinematic history suggests, it doubles as an object of art – a notion with which Alessandro Michele has played for this recent raise. Instead of a traditional campaign, the rebel creative director commissioned a group of designers to share their artistic vision for the 1947 Gucci Bamboo, resulting in a virtual gallery of portraits – photographic, illustrative and otherwise. Artist Masayoshi Matsumoto recreated the iconic bag entirely from balloons, while Nico Ito responded to the brief with a series of otherworldly surreal illustrations. Photographer Katja Mayer even placed the Gucci Bamboo in a glass case, immortalized forever as something to admire.
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The re-released style – and its various siblings – is currently available for purchase at Gucci, select retailers, and some of our favorite resale sites. But thanks to faithful reissues in the 1990s and 2000s, Gucci Bamboo lovers don’t have to choose between buying the original 0633 or buying the new 2022 version. Don’t miss Tom Ford’s jewel-hued satin incarnations (90s glamour, encapsulated) or Frida Giannini’s New Bamboo, set aside by tassel detailing and still sported by Florence Welch and Sienna Miller. These models are periodically resold on 1st Dibs and Vestiaire Collective.
All told, the Gucci Bamboo has proven to be a worthwhile investment – whether you keep yours encased in a glass bell jar or permanently nestled on your arm. Below, check out our pick of the best new and pre-loved Gucci Bamboo bags.
Where to buy the Gucci Bamboo
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