The House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden

Rate: 4/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (Spoilers Abound)

A few months ago my news feed was filled with beautiful images of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver’s new film about the turbulent Gucci family, which piqued my interest, especially upon finding out that the future feature film was based on a book. Prior to hearing about this movie, I doubt I could have identified the famous logo out of a line up. Perhaps, an educated guess could have been proffered if it was the only double ‘G’ logo to choose from. My fashion ignorance aside, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of the family/business drama in association with the famous label, especially as it culminated in a murder. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to learn more.

The House of Gucci contains everything and more I look for in nonfiction, with a plethora of detail and history that significantly expands my knowledge base. I finished this book feeling like I not only knew exponentially more about Gucci and the founding family, but also about fashion in general. Forden conducts many, many interviews that brought this story and the vibrant personalities to life within the text, while also managing to make the necessary corporate aspects engaging, despite the tedious nature.

There were so many twists and turns, not to mention the quantity of individuals involved in this drama that organizing this story would have been incredibly difficult. Forden decides to section the story into key conflicts, e.g., family vs. Paolo, Maurizio vs. the family, and Marizio vs. Patrizia in different sections. Due to many of these events happening at the same time it caused the timeline to overlap within the different sections, causing the overall picture to be disjointed. As a reader, I felt pulled out of the story several times upon realizing that the drama I was currently learning about had happened simultaneously as an event previously detailed in the book. I had to take apart the Gucci puzzle I had been constructing and rearrange the pieces to account for this new information that had been proffered. This distraction happened repeatedly and increased as the story progressed. That said, with how many players are involved, I’m not sure if there is a better way for Fordan to organize the story and not dilute the overall drama.

Despite not having a robust knowledge of the fashion industry I was surprised to find out I recognized many of names throughout this read from Tom Ford to Marc Jacobs. For example, I was shocked to find out that Tom Ford made his name as a designer in Gucci before leaving to start his own label.

For the first time in my life I find myself wanting to buy something Gucci. I would have to say that is a pretty accurate gauge of how much I enjoyed The House of Gucci , especially learning about the family that grew the small family shop into a global fashion empire. Forden’s thorough level of research and quality of interviews is apparent throughout. Furthermore, she manages to organize this extensive quantity of information into an engaging story that captures both the drama and the flamboyant personalities of this Italian family. Overall, The House of Gucci vastly increased my knowledge of the fashion industry, especially the ups and downs of the Gucci family that ultimately ended in heartbreak. I can’t help but wonder what project Maurizio would have thrown his passions into next. With such rich material to work off of, I can’t wait to see the movie, despite knowing it will not be a feel good ending. My early prediction: high critic scores, low people scores.


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