The bamboo-handled bag was developed in a Gucci backroom in Florence in 1947 by craftsmen who were charged to muster all their powers of innovation to think their way around war-time shortages – yet still make objects that met the Gucci standards of desirable exclusivity. Shoots of Bamboo which could still be imported from Japan, were softened by a flame and curved into a distinctive ‘u’ shape. Once it was articulated and attached to the bag by four metal loops (using the least amount of the precious commodity possible, in the on-site forge), the bamboo handle instantly became a piece of design history.
Over the decades, the bamboo went beyond its origins as a pragmatic
solution and became a device used on generations of new bag shapes,
gradually transforming itself into a Gucci visual code. Bamboo-inspired
patterning has featured on a variety of products – from umbrella handles
to headscarves, watchstraps and jewellery, and has even been carved
cleverly into a pair of golden stiletto heels. Frida Giannini has even
reinvented the iconic original handbag with her own ultra modern
version, “The New Bamboo”.
Along with the horsebit, the
green-red-green web stripe, the diamante and flora patterns and the GG –
the bamboo is a Gucci icon and part of the House’s incredible heritage
that proves savvy design will never be out of style.