Liu Wen dazzled at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in a crystal-embroidered midnight blue suit and Gucci Bamboo 1947 bag. The supermodel exuded effortless elegance, creating a memorable sartorial moment. “I paired this Gucci royal blue lace suit with a black Bamboo 1947 bag for a balanced look,” Liu Wen revealed in an exclusive interview with Vogue China. “Besides, this outfit is versatile, as it can transition from casual outings to special events like parties, dispelling the myth that evening bags can only be used on limited occasions.”
Indeed, in the newly-launched Gucci Bamboo 1947 advertising campaign shot by David Sims and exclusively released by Vogue China, Liu Wen interprets this handbag in a more comfortable, intimate, and casual way, bringing to her mind words like “classic, breakthrough, and innovative”. Recalling the shooting in Milan at the end of February, Liu Wen pointed out that “the creativity behind the shooting was very intriguing. In this advertising campaign, the bag takes on the role of a confidante and friend, giving expression to my innermost thoughts and feelings.” Holding a Gucci Bamboo 1947 bag in her hand decades later, she “feels a connection to its creators and a sense of being part of its legacy”.
An instant emblem forged by a flame, the curved bamboo handle crowns a leather handbag in 1947, marking the House’s path as an innovator in craftsmanship and luxury. Today, the renowned design of the Gucci Bamboo 1947 is at the heart of the House’s signature bag collection, representing how a creative instinct propelled by profound know-how has led Gucci to where it is today.
In 1947 – amidst Italy’s post-war era in which traditional raw materials were difficult to come by – the enterprising founder, Guccio Gucci, with the help of the House’s visionary Florentine artisans, decided to use the lightweight and durable bamboo for the handle of a purse. The paradigm of design coherence and the authority of leather was gracefully challenged by the bamboo in a game of contrasts that defied the aesthetic rules of the time.
The bamboo top handle also ushered in an expansion of the House’s artisanal expertise, as there is a highly technical process behind crafting the curved stalk. A craftsman first selects the most unblemished pieces of bamboo, which are then softened and worked over an open flame by hand to manipulate the material into a semi-circular form. Once shaped, the handle is coated in multiple layers of lacquer, after which it is baked to achieve a shiny golden-brown finish. Due to this meticulous process, not a single bamboo handle is ever the same.
The Gucci Bamboo 1947, as well as its archival predecessors are prominently featured within Gucci Cosmos, a major new exhibition of the House’s most iconic and timeless designs from its 102-year history, debuting in Shanghai on April 28 and open until June 25. In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition and this newly launched campaign, we talked to Liu Wen who shared her thoughts on the campaign and exhibit.
How do you interpret the Gucci Bamboo 1947 in the newly launched campaign?
This campaign was shot in Milan this past February. The creativity behind the shooting was very intriguing. In this campaign, the bag takes on the role of a confidante and friend, giving expression to my innermost thoughts and feelings. Everything about this shoot was different from anything I had ever done before. It was just like hanging out with a bunch of pals, putting me completely at ease.
How do you define your personal style and who is your recent style muse?
I like the minimalist style of the 1990s, which is simple and comfortable. Fashion is a constant process of learning and observing the sartorial choices and expressions of those around us. I can draw inspiration from anyone with a distinctive style which can lie in life’s smallest details.
Three words to describe the Gucci Bamboo 1947 bag? Which colour is your favourite?
The three words came to mind are “classic”, “breakthrough”, and “innovative”. I gravitate towards the black and the cerulean hues of the mini model. The juxtaposition of the black leather and the bamboo material creates a sublime harmony that is both functional and versatile. The cerulean hues set off the bamboo in a fresh and dynamic contrast. The Gucci Bamboo 1947 bags showcase their diverse allure through these two distinct combinations.
The Gucci Bamboo bag has a long history, and it turns to be a 76-old timeless beauty, how do you value the beauty transcending time through past to present?
Bamboo has a symbolic meaning of good fortune and prosperity in Chinese and other Asian cultures. This explains their affinity for this material. The bag features a bamboo handle, a design innovation that married Eastern culture to Western culture 76 years ago. The Gucci Bamboo 1947 bag comes with an upper shoulder strap that interprets the classic silhouette in contemporary design language and infuses vitality into the bag by combining sizes and colours in unexpected ways. It’s a whole new visual feast and interactive adventure for the wearer.
We saw you were wearing a total royal blue Gucci look with a black Bamboo 1947 bag on the carpet of Vanity Fair Oscar Party, such a glamorous and unexpected fashion moment. You seem to give the Bamboo 1947 bag a different, quite fresh perspective. How do you think of that?
I paired this Gucci royal blue lace suit with a black Bamboo 1947 bag for a balanced look. Besides, this outfit is versatile, as it can transition from casual outings to special events like parties, dispelling the myth that evening bags can only be used on limited occasions.
The Bamboo bag will be an important icon presented in the upcoming Gucci Cosmos exhibition in Shanghai, to celebrate the 102-year creativity through the House’s codes and spirits. What are you looking forward to at the exhibition?
I can’t wait to see the entire Gucci exhibition. These classic elements have withstood the test of time and are still preserved to this day to give each exhibit a distinctive imprint of the times and a new interpretation in the exhibition. Gucci’s Bamboo bag evolved over the years since its debut in 1947, capturing the essence of each fashion era. Looking back on these classic elements of 1947 and holding a Gucci Bamboo 1947 bag in your hand decades later, you will feel a connection to its creators and a sense of being part of its legacy.