There’s a magnetism that arises between a woman and her bag. It’s a treasure chest, a keeper of secrets, a talisman—call it what you like. A bag is simply an extension of its wearer. However, in this campaign, it’s not just any woman; it’s Supermodel Liu Wen, and it’s not just any bag. It’s Gucci’s Bamboo 1947.
As with all things Gucci does, there’s a certain sultry, va-va-voom that emanates from its latest campaign. That’s because it explores a woman’s distinct bond with her bag. Intimacy, kineticism, and a lust for luxe are all captured through the lens of David Sims with a short film and series of photographs.
Calfskin leather radiates with a supple sheen as the camera alternates between Wen and the iconic handbag. There’s a dialogue. While unspoken, a potent exchange of attraction, comfort, and dependence is pronounced. Whether in glances or sensuous body language, this exchange is of universal relativity. We’ve all been there with a cherished item. Gucci’s just capturing that feeling with Sims and his camera as the vessel.
There’s something almost poetic about the Bamboo 1947. It starts with the selection of the finest, most unblemished piece of bamboo. Softened, scorched by an open flame, and bent to the will of its craftsman, the bamboo handle takes its semi-circular shape with a sharp hand and a fervent vision. Then, it is richly coated in lacquer and baked until it reaches a lustrous golden finish.
Just like the relationship shared between a bag and its wearer, the handbag’s handles are unique; no two are alike due to their handcrafted nature. It is a hallmark of Gucci’s savoir-faire. Akin to the brand’s artisanal expertise, it stands for the desire to innovate. Whereas a bamboo handle today is something dynamic, chic—bohemian, even, tracing back to the bag’s humble beginnings, the bamboo handle stemmed from a creative response to a need for resourcefulness. Following the aftermath of World War II, leather in Italy was scarce—yes, that’s right. A scarcity of leather in Italy. While inconceivable today, strict policies then dictated exactly how much leather could go into handbags. Hence, the bamboo handle was born and baptized into the glamourous realm of high fashion.
That’s just one layer to Gucci’s 102-year-old history. You can dive into the world of Gucci’s Bamboo 1947 and its predecessors at Gucci Cosmos, a new exhibition of the house’s decadent world of designs in Shanghai from April 28th to June 25th.