Aldo Gucci (26 May 1905 – 19 January 1990) was the chairman of Gucci Shops Inc. from 1953 to 1986. He is the eldest son of Guccio Gucci, who founded the company bearing his name in 1921.
Aldo Gucci was born in Florence into a family dating back to the thirteenth century in the nearby town of San Miniato. From a young age he showed signs of entrepreneurial talent and an intrepid nature. In his formative years he developed an interest in equestrianism and botany, which would later find its outlet in product design and a passion for gardening. He was raised in a traditional household with a competitive work ethic that adhered to the Tuscan heritage of craftsmanship and bartering. At just sixteen he began part-time work in his father's first shop in via della Vigna Nuova in Florence.
From the age of 20, Aldo began work full-time at Gucci. He went on to open the first shop outside his native city in Rome in 1938 and soon after took over the reins of the company upon his father's death in 1953. Gucci became an overnight status symbol when the bamboo handbag was featured on Ingrid Bergman's arm in Roberto Rossellini's 1954 film "Viaggio in Italia". The GG insignia became an instant favorite of Hollywood celebrities and European royalty. When Aldo opened in New York in 1953, he planted the "Made in Italy" flag on American soil for the first time. President John F Kennedy heralded him as the first Italian Ambassador to fashion and he was awarded an honorary degree by the City University of New York in recognition of his philanthropic activity, described as the Michelangelo of Merchandising. He went on to open shops in Chicago, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills, before expanding to Tokyo, Hong Kong and in cities around the world through a global franchising network. For over thirty years he was dedicated to the expansion of Gucci, developing the company into a vertically integrated business with its own tanneries, manufacturing and retail premises. In 1986 he was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for tax evasion in New York. He was 81. He did his time at the Federal Prison Camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In 1987, after 66 years as a family-owned business, Gucci was sold to Investcorp.
Aldo was the eldest of five children born to Guccio and Aida Gucci. He had three brothers – Vasco, Rodolfo and Enzo (who died aged nine), and a sister – Grimalda. He also had an adopted brother, Ugo, from his mother's previous relationship. Aldo had three sons – Giorgio, Paolo and Roberto (with Olwen Price), and a daughter – Patricia (with Bruna Palombo), all of whom worked in the family business until its sale in 1987.
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