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

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 Bamboo Bag 1960s

Gucci Craftsman in Florence, 1953

Gucci Craftsmen in Florence, 1953

Gucci Advertisement, 1960s

Gucci Bamboo Handbag Advertisement, 1960s

Gucci Handbag Patent Documentation

Gucci Bamboo Patent Form

Gucci Advertisement, Harper’s Bazaar, 1970s

Gucci Advertisement, Harper's Bazaar, 1970s

Gucci Bamboo Bags Carried By Celebrities

Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave with a Gucci Bamboo Bag 2

Vanessa Redgrave with a Gucci Bamboo Bag 1

Lady Diana

Princess Diana with a Gucci Bamboo Bag

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts with a Gucci Bamboo Bag

Florence Welch

Florence Welch with a Gucci Bamboo Bag

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with a Gucci Bamboo Bag


Beyonce with a Gucci Bamboo Bag

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Eartha B

    world war II was already finished by 1946.

    • Eartha B

      sorry, 1945 actually.

  • dnfl

    “Carry white caflskin, on a bamboo handle. Price, about $64. From Gucci.” Did I read that correctly? $64?? My, how prices have come along way

  • Reeka

    So cool! Can we get more history about the brand as well??

    Hey Eartha- WW2 didn’t end on one day, it took a while for the unrest to finally settle.

  • Jane

    My two favs are the one in the black and white Gucci advertisement and the other is the one being held by Florence Welsh, that purple is to die for.

  • mary

    im selling my gucci bamboo shoulder bag , crocs skin ..very nice and elegant ! anyoneone interested?

    • Ivey Snow

      I am intetested may I ask how much your asking for it?