Style The Story of “Flora”, Gucci’s Timeless Scarf

The Story of “Flora”, Gucci’s Timeless Scarf

Andrea Tuzio

Gucci has recently launched “Gucci 100”, the collection inspired by the centenary history (1921-2021) of the Italian fashion house accompanied by a video that you can watch just below.

A true celebration of the immense legacy Gucci has left in these 100 years.
We decided to celebrate the maison directed by Alessandro Michele by telling the story of one of the most famous items ever made by the brand, the “Flora” silk scarf. Its floral pattern has inspired and continues to inspire Gucci’s objects and collections.

The protagonists of this story that has the characteristics of a fairy tale are mainly three: the illustrator Vittorio Accornero de Testa, Rodolfo Gucci and Princess Grace Kelly

Let’s rewind the tape and go back in time to 1966 when the immortal Grace arrived in Milan with her husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and chose to visit the Gucci boutique on Via Montenapoleone. 
The owner of that store was Rodolfo Gucci, son of Guccio, and for the occasion he chose to give the princess something very special. 
He decided to commission a design from illustrator, painter and set designer Vittorio Accornero de Testa, who worked with the Italian fashion house between 1960 and 1981, for a silk scarf to give to Grace Kelly.

Accornero de Testa began his career as an illustrator in 1919 under the pseudonym of Max Ninon; between the ’20s and ’30s he illustrated the main women’s magazines of the time, often together with his wife Edina Altara. For many years he also devoted himself to the illustration of fairy tales and children’s books.
He created over 80 scarves for Gucci, but the one that changed the history of the entire House and of this accessory was “Flora”.

A square of silk sprinkled with beautiful flowers became the base on which Gucci’s dresses, handbags and jewelry would be made over the course of 50 years.

A delicate and enchanting botanical-floral composition with grafting berries and insects depicted with the care of a naturalist, consisting of 37 vibrant colors on a white background. The 9 bouquets depicted are composed of: lilies, ivy, poppies, cornflowers, daffodils, ranunculus, anemones, tulips and irises. We also find a series of insects as we said including, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, butterflies, beetles and grasshoppers. 

Accornero de Testa does not make use of the specular repetition of the subjects but focuses on each design in its entirety, a much more complex and expensive choice to make.
Another element to underline in the choice of the subject is that of having gone beyond the canons of Gucci’s identity at the time (Travel-Equestrian-Hunting), in total antithesis with what were the aesthetic habits of other international luxury brands.

The choice of subjects actually, as well as the name given to the scarf, are a tribute to the origins of the maison and the city of Florence with the allegory of La Primavera and The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, in which in both paintings we find the nymph Flora wearing a dress adorned with flowers.

The Flora motif was revived in 2005 by Frida Giannini. “The ability to look forward without losing sight of the past” led her to innovate the house’s designs in modern ready-to-wear, including Gucci Flora. During her creative direction Giannini ensured that the Flora print was present almost everywhere. From emphasizing the print in the Cruise 2013 collection to reinventing it as a fragrance.

Gucci’s current Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, has united the House’s past and present, projecting everything into the future by reinterpreting the Flora design in a contemporary key, making it one of the House’s most representative symbols.

Written by Andrea Tuzio
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