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The meaning of Gucci's heart-shaped clutch

Let's start form its technical name: Minaudière

The meaning of Gucci's heart-shaped clutch Let's start form its technical name: Minaudière

With its 97 looks, Gucci's Aria collection presented yesterday was an avalanche of references and quotes in perfect Alessandro Michele style. Among the references to hedonism of the Tom Ford era, "hacking" balenciaga silhouettes and details that evoked the heritage of the brand, one of the most interesting items was an "anatomical" clutch in the shape of a heart presented both in glittery version, covered with rhinestones, and in an enamelled version, wearing both men's and women's looks.

It is a suggestive gadget, which fits perfectly into the symbolic /esoteric aesthetic of Alessandro Michele and which, as revealed by the designer during his post-show conference, wants to ideally summarize gucci's new status as a centenary brand. To better explain its meanings it is necessary to start from a precise definition: the accessory is not in fact a common bag, but a minaudière.

What's a minaudière?

In all respects a minaudière is a casket, that is, an accessory closer to a precious box than to a real bag. To make it simple you could say this: the bag can be of many different sizes but it is often created from "soft" materials such as leather or canvas; a minaudière is always small and always rigid and was originally born as a makeup carrier. It is therefore a fairly precious accessory, which often accompanying evening dresses and which, classically, has the shape of a real rectangular box decorated in various ways.

The name of the accessory was recorded in the 1930s by Van Cleef & Arpels and was first created inspired by the style of writer and patron Florence Gould who used a metal cigarette case from Lucky Strike as a handbag. The style was soon adopted by other famous jewelers such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Chaumet and later became a highly specialized production. One of the most famous minaudières in fashion history was designed by Alexander McQueen, using brass knuckles as a handle and which remains to this day one of the most famous accessories of the brand.

What does Gucci's minaudière means?

As they said, Gucci's minaudière has the anatomical shape of a heart. The choice was certainly due to the desire to create a suggestive and somewhat weird accessory (on par with the septum-jewel seen wearing many of the models) that was a compromise solution between the fin-de-siècle luxury loved by Michele and his taste for a styling with an esoteric flavor. A version of the minadière was covered in rhinestones – a visual theme of the collection that refers to the world of parties, which was also one of the visual and narrative themes of fashion film. Another bore the words "Savoy" which, as we said in a previous article, is a reference to the founder of the brand, Guccio Gucci.

The symbolic "heart" represented by the minaudière is that of Gucci itself, which passes intact from decade to decade through the many reincarnations of Gucci. The accessory therefore indicates the passion for the brand and its wide mythology (explored among other things in the soundtrack of the show, which with the use of pop music linked Gucci's fame to the world of clubbing) that remains unchanged through eras and changes of hands – as if to say that Gucci is unique and it will remain so forever. At the end of the show, in which the models are in a sort of Garden of Eden, a woman dressed as Marilyn Monroe throws it upwards "giving it back to the universe", as Michele himself told Business of Fashion, and right on the minaudière suspended in the air to close the show.