Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (9)

The 90-year legacy of Gucci is filled with a classic sensibility from the early 1920s, and the focus of the brand has always surrounded the master craftsmanship of Tuscan artisans. Gucci prides itself in crafting luxury pieces, and the focus now goes back to the Bamboo line, which dates back to the 1940s. We already shared the history of the Gucci Bamboo bags, and now we have the pleasure of sharing how they’re made.

When I see designer bags freshly unpacked, sitting on store shelves, waiting to be bought, I sometimes forget the lengths to which craftsman and artisans go to create them. A dream came true for me over the summer when Vlad and I had the pleasure to spend the day in the Gucci factory outside of Florence, watching the craftsmen meticulously create the bamboo handles we see on some of the most coveted and iconic bags in history, the Gucci Bamboo bags.

Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (3)

The process begins by finding the right pieces of bamboo, which is no easy task. Gucci artisans meticulously choose the most unblemished portions, and once they are deemed fit for production, the next step is bending the bamboo.

The specially trained artisan molds the bamboo over fire to turn the handle into the proper shape. Over the open flame, as the bamboo heats up it softens and allows the bending to happen. This takes a few minutes as the artisan continuously works the bamboo over the open flame, manipulating the bamboo to perfection.

After the bamboo has been molded, it enters the lacquering stage. Each piece has a layer of lacquer brushed over it to make it more durable and give the glossy finish. Fun fact: the lacquer used in this process comes from an insect.

Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (7) Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (10)

Once the bamboo has been lacquered, the artisan moves over to the next station, where he toasts the handles to give the perfect golden-brown finish. No bamboo piece will be exactly the same as any other piece; they’re all created by hand, using a decades-old artistic process.

After these steps, the bamboo is ready to be added to the bag. The molded, toasted, and lacquered handle is mounted to the hardware which is then placed on the bag. The finished product is a true brand icon with very special history, a meticulous creative process and which leaves you with an innovative and distinctive design.

Shop Gucci Bamboo via Gucci.com.

Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (6)Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (4)Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (1) Gucci Bamboo: Behind the Scenes (8)

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  • umayamu

    Excellent piece Megs! I enjoy peeking into artisan studios and watching objects come to life. Thank you for sharing!

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Megs Mahoney Dusil

      This is probably the most informative and interesting piece we’ve ever worked on – I’m so happy we are able to share!

  • Reeka

    woah this is awesome! so jealous you got to go to the mills and see this ! does the same process happen when making the bamboo tassels on the shoes?

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Megs Mahoney Dusil

      All Bamboo is made in this room, so I would assume so!

  • Denton Taylor

    No gloves. No eye protection. No respirator. Obviously there are not enough lawyers in Italy. lol

  • EGlez ?

    So amazing, I will never look at my mom’s Gucci with bamboo handles the same way. Amazing piece!

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Megs Mahoney Dusil

      Yes, it gave me such a new appreciation for Gucci as well!

  • your mum

    there are so many grammatical errors in this piece – does anyone proof read anymore?

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Megs Mahoney Dusil

      Thanks for pointing it out – the post actually had a glitch for a little bit where it reverted to an older version of the text. It’s back to the right version now. We never want to have our editorial be anything but stellar so I apologize that even happened!

  • your mum

    there are so many grammatical errors in this piece – does anyone proof read anymore?

  • http://www.zangblogs.wordpress.com/ Zang

    Fascinating. I love learning the artistry behind expensive bags, a visual example of why its worth the price.

  • jenn

    Love it!!! I always wondered how Bamboo was bent…considering it is sooo durable when standing. Thanks for this tour of the artisan studio, and how the MAGIC begins..

  • rodzep17

    Amazing article! I always thought the bamboo must’ve been fake haha would it be ok if I used this as reference to write a Spanish version for my magazine’s site?

  • carolyn

    That is fascinating! Thank you so much for showing the artistic side of this process for the beautiful handbags.

  • Bjorn

    Great job Megs & Vlad! You bring to life these gorgeous pieces of work and now I have a better appreciation of my objects of desire!