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The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed Paperback – October 9, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937751
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A world-famous luxury brand, financial skullduggery, vicious family quarrels ending in a sensational murder: the Gucci story just couldn't be juicier, and former Women's Wear Daily correspondent Sara Gay Forden does full justice to its gossipy appeal. Guccio Gucci opened his first leather-goods store in Florence in 1921, but it was his son Aldo who expanded the company overseas and made products like the Gucci loafer and the Flora scarf international symbols of status and affluence. Aldo's sons, his brother Rodolfo, and Rodolfo's son Maurizio, all of whom also worked in the family business, didn't always appreciate Aldo's imperious ways, and corporate board meetings often ended with ashtrays and Gucci handbags flying. Things got so bad in the early 1980s that Aldo's renegade son Paolo made public financial documents that very nearly sent his father to jail for tax fraud. Even more lurid was the 1995 execution-style murder of Maurizio, followed by the conviction in 1998 of his ex-wife Patrizia for ordering the hit. Meanwhile, CEO Domenico De Sole and creative director Tom Ford were transforming Gucci from a family-run company into a modern corporation once again on the cutting edge of fashion and marketing. Forden makes the business story as dramatic as the Guccis' personal squabbles (and of course the two were often interconnected) in a highly entertaining family biography that doubles as a savvy business history. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The brutal 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of the Gucci company founder, serves as entree into the history of one of the world's most glamorous fashion houses. The author, a longtime fashion writer for Women's Wear Daily, wonderfully describes how Guccio Gucci learned, as a low-level employee at London's Savoy hotel in the 1890s, that luggage functions as a symbol of "affluence and taste," and then went on to create opulent leather goods that caught the world's eye. Forden traces how GuccioAand his descendantsAused charisma and intuition, rather than trained business acumen, to create the handbag dynasty. The "Gucci concept," a group of colors and designs largely derived from horse stables, didn't hurt either. But much of the book is devoted to the in-fighting that developed among Guccio's sons and grandsons. This in-fighting as well as the Guccis' inability to adapt to increased competition, professionalize their management and maintain the value of their brand name eventually caught up with them. In fact, Maurizio, having risen to the top of the company in the 1980s by using outside investors to depose his uncle, was eventually bought out in 1993, leaving no family members in the company's top management. (Forden does explain how the Gucci company has since made a comeback.) The book is, at times, too detailed about fashion history and techniques, and some may find the author's use of dramatic re-creations annoying. Nevertheless, he offers an intriguing view of one of the families that helped to create 20th-century style and business. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Great and fun read.
Tabootiki
This book is a surprising fast paced book that reads more like an unauthorized tell all scandal book then one dealing with the business world.
John G. Hilliard
The House of Gucci reads like a soap opera in book form.
Fashionista

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ping Lim on August 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is surprisingly entertaining & yet informative at the same time. Here, we read about Gucci's humble beginning (against the myth of the family beginning as saddle makers), the personalities in the family (namely, Aldo & Rodolfo & subsequently, moving on to the younger generations, Maurizio, Paolo), the ongoing battles ensued among themselves for business control, the loyalty of Gucci employees, the estrangment of the employees against the new team brought in by Maurizio to turn Gucci around, the murder of Maurizio Gucci, the trial which brought his estranged wife, Patrizia Gucci & her accomplice to jail, Maurizio's vision which involved Investcorp which subsequently made Gucci into a corporate name, the significance of American outsiders such as Dawn Mello, Domenico de Sole, Tom Ford which spearheaded Gucci into a new direction altogether (from bag & leather products into ready to wear apparels) & indirectly, tranformed the fashion industry forever by inspiring other fashion houses to do the same ie. listed in the sharemarket to fend off competitors and to survive in the game & attainment of synergy thru multi brands under the same umbrella, the fighting off hostile takeover bid by LMVD led by Arnault thru marriage with Pinault. The book is written in a way that we feel as if we are in the thick of incidents. B&W pictures provided were handy. There is never a dull moment in this book. Highly recommended and great effort for the first time author.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris Salzer on August 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
The House of Gucci asserts itself as a singular dichotomy of both highly bizarre personal tales of the self-destructive Gucci family as well as the equally strange goings-on of the business side of things as well. It reads not unlike an incredibly enthralling novel of deceit, selfishness, lust, greed, and underhanded connivances quite unlike any other.

What makes this even more compelling is the incredible fact that it really happened. It begins with a somewhat banal and inauspicious start as the author recounts the beginning of Gucci with its assiduous founder, Guccio Gucci. As the family history unfolds, however, we find ourselves grossly immersed in the almost unbelievable sordid tales of the inimitable Gucci clan going from Guccio's three sons and how the most industrious of them, Aldo, built the Gucci empire almost single-handedly from a local phenomenon selling primarily handbags and loafers to worldwide acclaim selling a veritable cornucopia of luxury merchandise. And that is, for all intents and purposes, where the meat of the infinitely bizarre story begins with the 3rd generation Gucci, Maurizio, whose cold-blooded murder is eerily recounted on the 1st page of the book.

Overall, I recommend this quasi-novel of nonfiction to anyone who enjoys a riveting yarn that reads like a murder mystery. Invariably, it also makes for a great read for anyone in management on how to run, as well as how NOT to run, a business.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a surprising fast paced book that reads more like an unauthorized tell all scandal book then one dealing with the business world. It is just a fun book to read. There is a good amount of history that does not take away from the story (as sometimes to much dull history can). The author got the mix right. It also gave me a lot of insight into the fashion world that I really was not looking for, but was interesting all the same. Keep in mind that part of the focus of this book is the business that has been built up; it is not just details of the family. A good effort by the author and one worth reading if you are interested in the topic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of Gucci was interesting. In fact, reality surpassses fiction in this case.
However, I was expecting more of a narrative feel; this reads like a collection of well researched facts. Some of the other reviews say it is like a novel - I think it is more like an interesting history book. Especially at the beginning -hard to get into the first few chapters it is written in such a factual, boring way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was a great book! It was so hard to put it down. Before reading the book, I had no idea of all the problems that existed within the Gucci family. I highly recommend this book, even if you're not a Gucci customer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fashionista on September 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
The House of Gucci reads like a soap opera in book form. Dramatic elements involving the fashion industry, business, and a dysfunctional family are deftly interwoven into a book that is impossible to put down. This novel is a perfect example of how power and greed can lead to the downward spiral of an outwardly- perfect family. Forden writes in a way that would keep any of a number of people riveted, including the fashionistas, the business- savvy,and those who are simply fond of the Italian culture. I have not hesitated in recommending this book to friends and family.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I thought that I had read more than I ever wanted to know about the Gucci family until I read this book by Sara Forden. It is fun to read but at the same time highly intelligent and perceptive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
And all this time I thought that fashion was just about fabric and thread! _The_House_of_Gucci_ was a terrific read because of all of the novela-style twists and turns and because of the way that it expertly documents the history of a family, an industry and an era. I suppose that one of the morals of the story is "be careful who you marry" but another is sure to be "there's always a new revenue stream." I especially appreciated the background information regarding the family members and the hired hands like Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole as this information really gave the story the sort of depth that similar accounts lack. This book is proof positive that in business, as in life, there is usually more to the story than meets the (customer's) eye.
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