L’usine Gucci à Casellina : Visite exceptionnelle
We had the amazing opportunity to discover the world of Gucci and more specifically the house’s factory, in a small town named Casellina near Florence (Italy), where the coveted leather goods are produced.
We start by entering a guarded state-of-the-art building.
Forty years ago Gucci left its historic atelier situated in the heart of Florence to settle in a bigger place able to provide the capacities to assure the brand’s astonishing development.
Hundreds of craftsmen are working in the factory, producing 50 000 leather goods each year. We’re feeling incredibly privileged to be there as only a handful of people were given the right to take photographs inside those walls.
We’re walking down the building’s hallways along with a guide revealing us little by little the secrets of Gucci.
The exotic and inestimable animal skins
Our first stop is taking place behind a locked door: the precious animal skins’ atelier.
A true library stores skins, offering an access for designers and craftsmen to multiple yet very rare skins. You’ll only be able to see a brief glimpse of the incredible but confidential selection
Alligator, python, lizard, ostrich, shagreen, the range is wide.
This skin above is actually five times larger and is from a giant anaconda. (You know like the from this pretty bad movie starring J.Lo)
Those skins, that will be used for bags, small leather goods and shoes, are divided into two categories: the ones coming from breeding animal and the ones from wild species.
No matter their origins all the skins are treated very particularly: polishing, dyeing, all steps requiring hours of work
The result is stunning, a crocodile skin can, after being revisited, take the form of a fabric like neoprene, reminding it us the delicate touch of a wetsuit.
The warehouse has an abundance of different fabrics, rough, soft, rigid, natural, colorful, thick or thin…
…That are archived and made available to the craftsmen
Leather and canvas are also there, whether it’s lamb skin, Guccissima leather or the famous monogrammed materials.
We come across tons of vintage canvases, like this very retro houndstooth shopping bag.
We’re continuing our tour by entering a huge room where craftsmen are working on neon-lighted counters.
They are checking the skins before cutting them, if something is not right they make last minute operations and then meticulously cut them following a very precise and strict pattern.
To work in those ateliers, you need to go through several years of formation. At Gucci, every single craftsmen has at least a ten years experience.
We are thoroughly scanning the rooms, looking for robots: there are absolutely none.
Everything here is handmade and to be able to see those people working the fabrics with scalpels we can’t help but start to picture them as some kind of surgeons. As weird as it can sound, this sight has something very sensual about it.
This machine is used to shine the crocodile leather in order to gives him the needed flexibility. You can also admire this ‘desk’ a la Crocodile Dundee with this customized chair. Swag.
The prototypes and the bamboo
We continue in the prototypes’ room where are designed the brand’s future products as well as special and made to measure orders.
Photographs being absolutely forbidden in here we can only show you this finished trunk, which required one month of work by two employees.
8 to 10 trunks are manufactured each year, the prices ranging from 30 to 240 000 euros (40 300 – 320 000$). Jennifer Lopez, again, supposedly bought one that required 8 crocodiles to be produced.
The next room is the one where belts buckles, small accessories, buttons, key holders, and bamboo handles are produced. The latter has became one of the brand’s signature over the years.
Only one specie is used, from a Chinese bamboo tree.
Alessio picks out half a meter stalks that will then be polished and curved with the help of a blowtorch, giving it this particular color.
The stalk is then adorned with a amber painting, each handle being varnished and hand finished with brass rivets.
This, once again, show us the engagement of Gucci in offering outstanding goods through the amazing high quality and the fantastic handwork.
The factory’s tour is coming to an end and its with amazed eyes that we are coming back to Florence to visit the Gucci Museo, the subject of our next episode.
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