Today we will talk about two great fashion houses “made of” luxury and monograms like “GG” and “LV”.
As you might have guessed from the acronyms just mentioned, we are talking about the famous Gucci and Louis Vuitton brands.
These acronyms, printed or applied on accessories and bags, draw admiration and wonder among their fans.
But, between a Gucci and a Louis Vuitton, which bag is a better choice and why?
It is certainly not an easy choice, because the Italian Gucci and the French Louis Vuitton have a lot to offer, both in terms of style and class.
In order to get to know better the two brands and make the right decision, we will look at their success stories, their vision of “luxury” (sumptuous for the Gucci brand and “bon ton” for Louis Vuitton) and finally, what they have in common and what are the differences.
Table of Contents:
- 1. The Gucci Brand: History and Iconic Bags
- 2. The Louis Vuitton Brand: History and Iconic Bags
- 3. Main Differences between Gucci and Louis Vuitton
- 4. Which Brand is Better? Which One to Choose?
1. The Gucci Brand: History and Iconic Bags
The “father” of the well-known brand is Guccio Gucci, son of a Florentine leather goods maker. The young Guccio emigrates and works in prestigious hotels in London and Paris.
In these hotel he is surrounded by wealthy travelers from all over the world and Guccio falls in love with their classy luggage. Back in Florence with some ideas in mind, he worked in the luggage sector, before founding his business in 1921.
The Gucci company is immediately linked to the processing of leather and the packaging of travel and horse riding items for the upper middle class.
In 1938, together with his sons Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, Guccio expands his presence with the first stores in prestigious locations in Rome and Milan.
It is a difficult time for Italy because of the war, but Guccio knows how to get around the problem of supplying expensive materials, making a virtue out of necessity: the leather is replaced by linen, jute and hemp fabrics; even bamboo canes are used in some models.
At the end of the war, Gucci’s productions reintegrate the most desired raw materials with the most humble ones: the “Bamboo Bag” will remain in production and is what we see on Liz Taylor’s arm in the photos of that period.
Even the iconic diamond pattern is linked to the introduction of yarns and it is typical of the Florentine company of the time. From 1945 onwards, the family started overseas exports, until it opened its first store in New York in 1953.
The clientele includes the Hollywood jet set and internationally renowned personalities such as Audrey Hepburn, Maria Callas, Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) and Grace Kelly.
After the death of Guccio Gucci his sons create new luxury accessories (glasses and jewelry) and the GG logo in the diamond weave in memory of the founder.
The 1960s are the golden age of the house, when the relationship with the “VIPs” becomes important: Jacqueline Kennedy assiduously wears a Gucci hobo, the “Constance”, which will officially take the name of “Jackie O“; while in 1966 “Flora” was born, a colorful floral print on silk, a gift from Rodolfo to the princess of Monaco.
In 1994, Tom Ford becomes creative director and gives new life to the company.
His work has left its mark, in particular a touch of extravagance and a certain dose of marked femininity.
After ten years, in 2004, he was succeeded by Frida Giannini, who came from the bags sector. Under her direction, Gucci aimed for a revival.
In 2015, Alessandro Michele reinvents the Autumn / Winter men’s collection in record time with a good media response.
The new Gucci is the result of the visions of Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele.
If we look at the Gucci bags we find different models with great charm and attention to details.
In fact, we find refined models, such as the Stirrup and Jackie O tote, and fashion “whims”, such as the Ophidia line, with prints and applications.
Among the timeless classics by Gucci, the most celebrated IT-bag is certainly the Jackie O.
Let’s start with this “classic” our list of the most loved bags by Gucci.
1.1 Iconic Gucci Bags:
The Jackie O Bag
The Jackie O is the iconic Gucci bag, a historical model that does not age over the years.
Born in the 1950s as a daily bag, immediately it is loved by Jacqueline Kennedy.
The bag reflects the elegant and natural personality of the ex-first lady; the two are inseparable.
The trapezoidal shape and slightly rounded silhouette is genuinely elegant, while the large handle make it very comfortable and capacious.
The original Jackie O bag, in leather or in canvas version with GG Supreme print and leather inserts, has on the front and along the median axis the iconic shiny metal piston closure.
A new “version” of the Jackie O was proposed by the creative director Giannini with the “New Jackie”: softer and larger, with a shoulder strap and decorative tassels.
The Dionysus Bag
Launched on the catwalks for the F / W 2015 season, Dionysus has conquered everyone: from celebrities of Beyoncé‘s caliber to influencers such as Chiara Ferragni.
Michele’s signature stands out in this sophisticated model, available in eccentrically chic versions with super bright patches.
It is a bag that pays homage to the Greek god Dionysus with its tiger-head closure, linked to its myth.
Dionysus is available in leather, python, GG Supreme canvas, GG Blossom, tweed and velvet.
In many sizes, a compartment with a central zip and a pocket hidden under the flap rationalize the interior.
The rigid structure is balanced by a long chain that changes its fit: the Dionysus can be used as a handbag, shoulder bag, and top handle simply by winding the chain.
The Marmont Bag
Among all the Gucci-s, the Marmont line is the most popular among the youngest.
Compactness and soft shapes make this bag very versatile and easy to combine with every style.
The Marmont draws inspiration from a buckle made by Gucci in the 70s; its distinctive elements are the logo with double G side by side in antiqued golden metal on the front or flap, and the shoulder strap in coordinated leather and chain.
The most desired model is the camera bag in chevron matelassé leather, a process that gives it an irresistible softness and enhances its curves.
The line is made of different materials, including smooth and matelassé leather, canvas with mixed leather, and precious python. It adapts to all tastes thanks to the variety of patterns and colors.
In the Marmont line we can find mini bags, shoulder bags, clutch bags, hand bags and mini backpacks.
2. The Louis Vuitton Brand: History and Iconic Bags
The history of this “maison” was born out of Louis Vuitton’s love for travel luggage.
When he moved to Paris to work in a suitcase shop, Louis was attracted to the production of stackable and resistant English suitcases, and decided to enter the business in 1854.
Vuitton specialized in waterproof canvas trunks, but the fame of LV products brought the first imitations, a problem that was not insignificant already in the 19th century.
In 1888, to combat unfair competition, Louis “signed” the texture of his fabrics with his own registered trademark, the “Damier Canvas”.
The brand focuses on elegant and safe designs for long journeys; for this reason Monsieur Vuitton and his son George developed an ingenious spring closure system in 1886.
Another characteristic element of style dates back to 1896: it is the “Monogram”, George’s tender homage to his deceased father.
This texture is inspired by an oriental floral pattern with stylized quatrefoils in vogue in the Victorian era.
George also has an entrepreneurial spirit. He explores the US market, and inaugurates the new century with the launch of the very first Louis Vuitton bag: the “Steamer Bag” born in 1901, originally as a model for men.
In the 1930s, followed the arrival of new bags: the “Keepall” (“Tient-Tout” originally) in 1930, the “Noé” (1932) and the famous “Speedy”.
Despite the political and economic developments of the two world conflicts, the crises didn’t hit the company.
In 1920 Louis Vuitton developed the Épi leather. The subsequent creations are still in canvas or with leather inserts, while the first line entirely in Épi will be presented only in 1985.
In the 1980s, Louis Vuitton directed by Odile Vuitton aimed ever higher.
The maison acquires Hennessy and the historic Möet et Chandon, creating a big luxury company.
A second turning point occurred in 1997, when Marc Jacobs was hired as creative leader.
In this decade, LV enters into “prêt-à-porter” products and, thanks to Jacobs’ taste, the maison collaborates with artists such as Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse and Yayoi Kusama.
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2.1 Iconic Louis Vuitton Bags
The Neverfull Bag
The Neverfull model is a young classic of the brand and it was created to accommodate everything and carry excessive weights.
Launched in 2007, it has become a very popular bag, because it is very practical and resistant, as well as chic. It is a trapezoid-shaped shopper with side ribbons and two large handles to wear it comfortably.
It is proposed in the timeless combinations of shades and materials (Monogram canvas, Damier Azur and Ebéne with details in light cowhide leather), in colored Épi leather and customizable versions (LV Heritage and My LV World Tour).
The Neverfull model has a lobster clasp closure, an interior in striped fabric with zip pocket, and a pratical non-removable mini clutch bag.
The Speedy Bag
The Speedy is the Louis Vuitton bag “par excellence”. The Speedy, originally “Express”, was born in 1930 as an alternative travel luggage to the great Keepall.
We have to thank Audrey Hepburn who, in 1965, requested a slightly smaller version. From a phone call, the Speedy 25 was born. This bag never goes out of fashion, because it is suitable for all styles.
It resembles a small hand luggage and is equipped with two natural cowhide handles, which darken over time, and a padlock closure.
It has an internal fabric lining and it is proposed in Monogram canvas, Damier Ebène canvas, Damier Azur and Monogram Empreinte leather.
The shapes are the same, and Louis Vuitton wanted to create two new versions for its traveler clients: the Bandoulière with shoulder strap and the My LV Heritage, a completely customizable top case.
The Noé Bag
The history of the Noé is very interesting: in this case, to request this particular model is a winemaker.
In 1932, a champagne maker asked Gaston-Louis for a bag to easily transport his products and, more specifically, 4 straight bottles and a fifth upside down in the center.
The Noé has a very functional shape thanks to its ability to expand if necessary. The modern model is a reinterpretation, a bucket with a quadrangular reinforced bottom.
It is made of natural cowhide leather and Monogram or Damier Azur canvas, with drawstring closure and shoulder strap, all in matching leather.
It is an elegantly casual bag and it is available in three sizes (Noé, BB and Petit Noé) and two new versions: the customizable Neonoé My LV World Tour and the Neonoé with drawstring closure and handle, in new colors and materials such as Épi leather and candy shades.
3. Main Differences between Gucci and Louis Vuitton
In the previous paragraphs we have illustrated the history of the two brands: common elements are the preference for travel luggage, meticulousness, innovative solutions and gravitation around the most affluent classes of the time.
Both houses use leather and fabrics, skilfully combining them. But here the differences that make the two styles unmistakable begin.
Gucci made its debut with luxury raw materials, focusing on exotic leathers and then moving to canvas materials only in times of economic hardship.
Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, took its first steps with the treated canvases that resembled the precious leathers, and only later introduced leather materials of its creation, like the Èpi inspired by the wheat fields.
The decorations also tell two different stories: the distinctive elements of Gucci pay homage to the equestrian world and often the models take the names from that world.
Louis Vuitton still retains the theme of travel, to remember the “belle epoque” trunks (Louis Vuitton Petite Malle).
The two brands have opposite conceptions of luxury. The pieces by Gucci are designed for self-confident and young women who don’t want to go unnoticed.
Louis Vuitton has a timeless class but in step with the times; the brand knows how to be elegant and young with vivacity and contemporary touches.
Two such different moods also require different ways of dressing.
Gucci offers perfect hobo bags to wear with daily or office suits; and versatile shoulder bags, such as the Soho passe-partout, which adapt to casual daily wear, “à la garçonne” outfits and glamorous evenings.
The most refined models go well with plain or basic clothes.
The Louis Vuittons are easier to match and allow you to play on the degree of formality of your outfit: for example, they make a “too casual” style more sophisticated or they “can” rejuvenate a “too rigid” look.
We find important differences also in the price tags of the two brands.
Retail prices do not depend on the size, but on the materials: the more precious they are, the more expensive the item will be.
The price of LV bags ranges from €800 (about $900) for the Speedy line to €21,500 (about $24,400) for the small crocodile leather Boîte, while Gucci starts at €550 (about $625) for a Mini Ophidia to €20,000 (about $22,700) for a 1969 Mini Sylvie in crocodile.
High fashion bags are also an excellent investment.
Between Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Which Bags Acquire More Value Over Time?
Caitlin Donovan, a specialist from the Christie’s auction house, recommends a classic Louis Vuitton, in particular the Monograms, because they are functional and their value increases steadily over time.
The “artist’s creations” are also important, here is an example: a Neverfull can reach a maximum value of $1,100, but a Yayoi signed edition is worth up to $3,000.
In general, among the bags most sought after by collectors there are the Gucci GG Supreme top handle and the Speedy 30 Louis Vuitton.
Those who want to invest in a fashion piece, can choose a timeless Louis Vuitton or a limited edition.
4. Gucci or Louis Vuitton: Which Brand is Better? Which One to Choose?
To choose a new bag of this importance, there are many criteria which must be taken into consideration.
Between Gucci and Louis Vuitton, the choice depends on your expectations, taste and usual uses (for example, to be worn in everyday life or in particular events).
In our opinion, a Gucci bag is suitable for those who have a dynamic life and a “free spirit”, and for those looking for a designer solution with a slightly more affordable price.
If you are looking for a bag to use every day and that looks great in the most ordinary situations, a Louis Vuitton will be your favorite choice.
Over time, your LV will acquire a vintage charm and become a family treasure to be handed down to your children.