“I’ve always romanticised ’70s fashion,” Dakota Johnson tells British Vogue. “The shapes, lines, colours and patterns. But also the vibe of the people wearing the clothes.” The star’s nostalgic sensibilities are evident in any number of her red-carpet appearances, from the unapologetically retro Gucci suiting she chose to attend South by Southwest last March, to the Old Hollywood splendour of her feathered champagne gown (also Gucci) for Vanity Fair’s post-Oscars party that same month.
Who better, then, than Dakota to serve as the face of Gucci’s newest iteration of one of its best-loved bags, the Jackie 1961? The actor takes up the mantle from countless A-list owners that pepper the bag’s 60-plus year history—none more significant, of course, than the die-hard fan for whom the accessory was ultimately renamed: Jacqueline Kennedy.
Instantly recognisable thanks to its curved half-moon shape and distinctive piston hardware, Gucci’s saddle bag became a firm favourite of the former First Lady’s in the ’70s, and photographs of Jackie flitting around Manhattan with her leather tote in tow swiftly propelled it to icon status.
From one enigmatic brunette to another, Dakota is the ideal modern muse for this contemporary spin on a house favourite. The campaign imagery, shot by British photographer Glen Luchford, echoes the sort of paparazzi snaps that are so intrinsic to modern celebrity culture, but also documented Mrs Kennedy Onassis’s love affair with the handbag all those decades ago. Instead of Jackie clutching her passport on her way out of the airport, her tote tucked under her arm, we find Johnson en route to the gym carrying the contemporary It-girl’s essentials: yoga mat, car keys, water bottle, plus a new cobalt-blue version of the Jackie 1961 dangling at her hip.
Rebooting handbags with heritage has proven to be a wildly successful strategy for Gucci in recent years. In the summer of 2021, erstwhile creative director Alessandro Michele (who confirmed his departure in November after an industry-changing stint at the helm of the brand), brought back another beloved accessory from the brand’s archive: Princess Diana’s favourite bamboo handle tote. Synonymous with the late Diana’s look in the ’90s, her most confident—and influential—style era, Michele transformed the structured tote for the 21st century, adding neon leather belts that fastened around the signature bamboo handles, and giving consumers the option to customise their bags with letters and stars.
The evolution of the Jackie 1961, meanwhile, has already won over an eclectic mix of celebrity fans, from Cate Blanchett to Gen-Z idol Amanda Stenberg, Jodie Turner-Smith to Harry Styles. This latest update incorporates three different sizes—mini, small and medium—in a range of colours and finishes, from natural grain to patent to precious leather. “The Jackie is the perfect bag,” says Dakota, a longtime Gucci fangirl. “It’s a great size and is so chic.” Prepare to see this reworked classic in countless genuine paparazzi shots this year.
This story was originally published on British Vogue.