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Founded in Florence in 1921 by a small Tuscan hat maker, the Gucci house grew rapidly under the sign of high-end leather goods, and in the 1950s became an international fashion brand, before falling in 1999 into the hands of the French industrialist François Pinault. Ridley Scott, who had been caring about this project for fifteen years, became interested in this Italian saga at a precise moment in its history: the one when the founding family was slowly killing each other, literally and figuratively, for the power, and where the hooded jet-set world is suddenly touched by Shakespearean tragedy and macabre farce.
Adapting a book by Sara Gay Forden (The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamor and Greed, 2001), Scott synthesizes twenty years of decadence in a two-and-a-half-hour story. In the early 1970s, two old sons the founder, Aldo and Rodolfo, share the empire. Paulo, the son of the first, is an incapable person despised by his father, who takes himself for a genius of styling. Maurizio, the second’s son, a law student, seems best placed to preserve the brand’s family future. He married in 1973, against the wishes of his father who suspected the manipulator, with the adopted daughter of an entrepreneur, Patrizia Reggiani.
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When his father died in 1983, Maurizio, held in the belt by Patrizia, set out to conquer power, against his uncle Aldo, who did not hear it that way. Things go wrong from here. Nephew against uncle, son against father, cousin against cousin. Denunciations to the tax authorities, stabs in the back, betrayals of all kinds send Aldo to prison for one year and Maurizio to temporary golden exile in Switzerland. The latter returns to deliver the coup de grace to his uncle and his cousin by allying with an investment fund based in Bahrain, which will soon oust him too, with the complicity of one of the most “Loyal” family collaborators, because of his particularly expensive management of the company.
Maurizio therefore resells his shares in the company in 1993, arousing the accumulated rage of a wife from whom he has separated since 1985, preferring her youth, and from whom he divorced in 1991. His fate is definitely sealed, and , on March 27, 1995, he fell under the impact of four bullets in front of the porch of his Milanese offices, shot at point blank range by a killer hired by his ex-wife thanks to the good offices of a devoted friend, the fortune-teller Giuseppina Auriemma . At the end of these joyous adventures, a single Gucci is no longer in charge of Gucci.
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