Gucci has just unveiled its newest campaign starring supermodel Liu Wen and the Gucci Bamboo Bag. The Bamboo 1947 campaign itself is dedicated to the House’s Bamboo Bag and details its intricate origins and its rise to becoming an icon in the world of handbags.
The bamboo handle has become so synonymous with the House of Gucci that we often forget the ingenuity of the design that was incepted back in 1947. During Italy’s post-war economy — when traditional raw materials were difficult to come by — it was decided by founder, Guccio Gucci, along with the help of the House’s visionary Florentine artisans, that bamboo would be the material of choice for its upcoming handbag. Bamboo, known for being lightweight, durable, yet pliable, was joined with the leather of the bag in a nonconventional fashion to give us what we know today as one of the most welcoming contrasts of materials in the luxury market.
The bamboo handle goes through multiple steps, first with the selection of an unblemished pieces of bamboo. The stalk is then softened using an open flame and shaped to fit the bag’s body. Once the desired shape is achieved, multiple layers of lacquer are applied to the bamboo where it is then finished in an oven to set in a shiny golden-brown hue. This process means that no two bags are the same.
In this latest campaign with Liu Wen, the supermodel is captured by David Sims where two emblematic characters are displayed — the individual and the loved object. The story of a woman and her bag that accompanies her through all of life’s experiences is shown in a way that elevates the bag into a realm surpassing mere objects, and into a world where it becomes and extension of herself. This expression of unique femininity is echoed in the unrepeatable characteristics of the bamboo handle.
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Not only was the Bamboo Bag celebrated among Hollywood’s leading ladies upon its release, but it has now grown to become a global icon on the international stage with its current iteration. Now, with its multiple variations and interchangeable leather and web straps, the Bamboo Bag has also attracted the attention of modern jet setters.
As part of the Gucci Bamboo 1947 celebration, a major new exhibition of the House’s most iconic and timeless designs from its 102-year history is currently going on from now until June 25 at Shanghai’s West Bund Art Center. Curated by Italian fashion critic Maria Luisa Frisa, the exhibition is designed by British artist Es Devlin, who has also created a special installation for the Bamboo 1947 that can be found in dedicated window displays and inside select Gucci boutiques around the world. Those interested can find the entire collection now over on Gucci’s dedicated website.