By the 1960s, the brand had popularized their trademarked interlocking ‘G’ logo and based on the placement of the horse saddle girth, was using striped webbing as a signature accent. Soon after they introduced tennis and golf attire and created the first Gucci sneaker, keeping pace with the ethic of the ideal Gucci customer; affluent, active and requiring a touch of luxury even in their standard exploits.
In the 1980s, the brand’s exclusivity became tarnished when the masses were given their first taste of low cost Gucci. Their star power was rapidly fading, but it found reinvigoration in the most unlikely of places. Hip hop was just emerging from New York City’s urban streets and brought with it a new aesthetic. Just like its music, hip-hop’s visual expression would rely on the sampling and dynamic re-interpretation of established materials. Rappers borrowed luxury logos (though rarely using the real deal) and incorporated the hallmarks of coveted brands like Gucci. Other appropriated labels were MCM, Fendi, Vuitton and Chanel, but likely due to the strength of its interlocking ‘G’ logo, Gucci was the premiere player in these abducted stylings.
At this point, the logo was emblazoned larger than life on over-sized leather jackets, tracksuits, t-shirts and baseball caps that were quite distasteful to most legitimate customers of the brand. Paradoxically however, this appropriation merely proved its power and relevance. Arguably the most influential in this game was Harlem’s Dapper Dan, whose designs catered to the flamboyant tastes of street heavies, rappers and athletes – his clients included Biz Markie, Salt-N-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante and Mike Tyson! Dapper Dan was a visionary with a full appreciation for the weight of the logo. He remade Nike garments long before Dr Romanelli by printing, stitching and embossing other distinctive logos on the garb he custom-made in his Uptown shop.