There are few elements of handbag history as recognizable and inventive as the curved handles of the famous Gucci Bamboo Handbags, and like innovations in every sector from astrophysics to candy-making, necessity was the mother of this particular invention. In the first of a three-part series in collaboration with Gucci, we’ll investigate the history of the company’s signature handle design and some of the famous hands that have held it since its inception.
In 1947, when the iconic Gucci bamboo handles first appeared, World War II was still in its final stages and countries the world over were rationing resources. That was especially true in Europe, where artisans at Gucci were being pressured to find materials that weren’t subject to restriction to use in their designs. Bamboo cane could still be imported from Japan, and Gucci craftsman developed a patented method to heat and bend the bamboo in such a way that it would retain its shape once cooled and affixed to a handbag.
The bamboo handles were so interesting and distinctive that the bags became an instant hit, sticking around well past the end of the war to be carried by some of the biggest celebrities and tastemakers of the 1950s and 60s. Under current Gucci creative director Frida Giannini, the iconic bamboo handles have been revived in a whole new way.
Shop Gucci Bamboo via Gucci.com
For images of Gucci Bamboo through history, as well as a selection of stars wearing Gucci Bamboo bags, check out the gallery below. Archival photos courtesy of Gucci.
Gucci Bamboo Bags Through History
A Gucci Bamboo bag from the 1960s
Gucci Craftsman in Florence, 1953
Gucci Advertisement, 1960s
Gucci Handbag Patent Documentation
Gucci Advertisement, Harper’s Bazaar, 1970s
Gucci Bamboo Bags Carried By Celebrities