Italian Fashion: Gucci
Francesco Cianferoni, Gucci Artisan
I am in charge of the prototyping and modelling department of leather goods at Gucci. This means realising an idea, turning an idea into something real, which then will become a dream for the customer who buys it. Our designers, obviously, are the ones who have the idea in the first place. Our job – my job – is to satisfy their idea while maintaining the tradition and craftsmanship typical of Gucci.
There are about 30 people involved in this activity, ranging from the modeller, who is the one that makes the paper-model, to the prototype artisan, who then actually makes the object. With their experience they are able to find the best interpretation of the original idea, the best shape. Obviously, the goal is to keep the quality at the highest possible standard.
On average a modeller has more than 20 years of experience. A prototype artisan, more than 10 years. I personally have done this job for 37 years. Obviously, our values are tradition, “Made in Italy” and quality. These are, of course, constantly challenged by innovation, which we must confront every day to have a young product that keeps up with the times.
Of course, during the making process the bags are assembled by hand, sewn with sewing machines, etc., but there is always a large human component – that is what determines the expected final result. We are talking about productions that were made in the 1960s and 1950s, and are still made today in the same manner and using the same tools. We draw a lot out of our historical archive.
We work with living materials. Leather changes according to tanning, dyeing… so many factors. The product always has to be followed from beginning to end, as every product is unique; each piece of leather is different from another. So it is not an assembly-line job, but a job requiring concentration, analysis and passion.
The demands of working with leather, the enduring nature of techniques and tools developed in the 1950s, the challenges of technological innovation and the skill and experience required to create a model for a new bag – these are some of the subjects addressed by Gucci Artisan Francesco Cianferoni.