1921: After work stints abroad, Guccio Gucci founds a small leathergoods manufacturer and opens his first shop in Florence.
1938: A Gucci shop opens in Rome.
1953: Guccio Gucci dies when the company is at the peak of its success; by then all four of his sons — Aldo, Ugo, Vasco and Rodolfo — have joined the firm.
1960-1980: The company navigates through troubled waters, until Rodolfo’s son, Maurizio, takes the helm in the early Eighties to relaunch the brand.
1984: Domenico De Sole joins Gucci America Inc.
1989: Investcorp SA, a Bahrain-based investment bank with operations in London and New York, acquires 50 percent of Gucci. Maurizio Gucci retains the other half and runs the company. Dawn Mello, the former president of Bergdorf Goodman, moves to Milan as creative director.
1990: Tom Ford moves to Milan from New York to join Gucci as the company’s women’s wear designer.
1993: With $200 million in revenues, Gucci is close to liquidation. Maurizio Gucci sells his shares to Investcorp and leaves the company for good.
1994: Tom Ford is appointed creative director of Gucci, responsible for ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising and store design. His first hit is the extremely sexy stiletto version of the horsebit loafer, which bows for fall-winter 1994-1995. De Sole is appointed chief operating officer.
1995: Gucci’s initial public offering coincides with Ford’s blockbuster fall winter 1995-96 collection with Seventies-inspired silhouettes: low-slung pants, slinky silk-satin shirts and skinny ribbed sweaters, all worn under nipped mohair and frock coats.
Madonna dresses head-to-toe Gucci at the MTV Video Music Awards.
De Sole becomes chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Gucci Group N.V.
1996: Ford wins the CFDA Award for international designer of the year, the first of 20 awards he will collect throughout his Gucci career.
1997: Gucci acquires Swiss group Severin Montres, its watch licensor for 23 years.
1999: In March, Gucci enters a strategic alliance with the French Group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) to fight off a takeover by rival French conglomerate, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The same year, Gucci uses the funds it received from PPR to acquire Yves Saint Laurent and Sanofi Beautè and a controlling stake in Sergio Rossi. Ford becomes creative director of Yves Saint Laurent ready-to-wear.
2000: Gucci acquires Boucheron, the fabled French jewelry house, and signs an agreement to acquire 51 percent of Alexander McQueen and Bedat & Co., the luxury watch producer.
2001: In September, at the end of a three-year litigation with LVMH, an agreement stating the French company’s definitive exit from Gucci’s capital is reached. On the basis of this agreement, PPR undertakes to guarantee to all shareholders the option to sell their Gucci Group shares in March 2004 at a fixed price of $101.50 per share, subsequently reduced to $85.52 per share.
Also during the year, Gucci acquires a majority stake in accessories maker Bottega Veneta, 50 percent of Stella McCartney and all of Balenciaga.
2003: On Nov. 4, PPR announces that it will not renew the contracts of Ford and De Sole and that they will leave Gucci on April 30, 2004. The two men said later that the breakdown in talks resulted from the issue of management control of Gucci as well as PPR wanting Ford to give up designing Yves Saint Laurent.
2004: With the fall-winter 2004-2005 collection, highlighted by knockout evening numbers, fabulous coats, sexy silhouettes and dragon-buckle bags, Ford takes his last bow on the Gucci runway. Ford considers a career in Hollywood, while De Sole plans to move to South Carolina. Ford is replaced at Yves Saint Laurent by Stefano Pilati and at Gucci by the trio of Alessandra Facchinetti, Frida Giannini and John Ray.