So, you’ve been bitten by the Gucci bug. Join the club! Or support group depending on the state of your bank account.
While we fantasize about splurging on a brand-new, customized Dionysus bag (swoon), we do have to consider financial realities, and one avenue that’s been especially intriguing lately is going vintage. With reputable e-commerce sites stocking vast troves of barely used handbags, shoes, scarves, and clothing—authenticated by experts, no less—and dedicated forums tracking every last detail of designers’ handiwork over the years, there’s never been a better time to shop resale online. Armed with the right information, the days of dealing with sketchy sellers over pieces of dubious provenance can be put safely in the past.
Also, vintage Gucci is just pretty rad.
Before Alessandro Michele’s arrival at the brand, and the subsequent fashion-industry fervor over his more-is-more aesthetic, a canvas logo satchel or a tote adorned with double-Gs might have seemed a bit passé (or at least not nearly as desirable as, say, a classic Chanel 2.55 bag or a piece of patinaed Louis Vuitton luggage). But now, vintage Gucci is getting its due, and editors and fashion girls are taking a renewed interest in styles from decades past.
According to Sophie Hersan, cofounder and product and quality control director of Vestiaire Collective, Europe’s leading online resale platform for luxury fashion, the site has seen a significant increase in the number of Gucci listings since Michele took the helm, as well as interest in the brand from its 4-million-strong user base. Since one of the designer’s signatures has been tapping into the historical codes of the house and updating them for the modern era, it makes sense that so many vintage pieces now seem fresh again.
But for anyone who hasn’t been following the brand for decades and could use some tips on how to find a piece that’s a) authentic and b) going to hold up long-term, we asked Hersan for her expertise and scoured the web for some of the most wearable secondhand Gucci pieces you can buy right now. Here’s what she had to say:
If you’re looking at a handbag, Hersan advises, you should check the materials to ensure the leather is high quality, the stitching is even, and any logos are printed evenly and in the correct typeface. Also check the typography on the tag (though note that in the ’60s and ’70s, the signature was in italic type) and make sure “Made in Italy” is embossed below the brand name. On the back of the tag, there should be an authenticity code indicating the model and individual serial number, which you can check with an authorized Gucci retailer.
For shoes and accessories (other than watches), you won’t find a serial number, but you can still pay attention to finishes, logos, and fabric quality to ensure you’re buying an authentic piece.
The most popular Gucci pieces on the resale market right now are the most current ones, Hersan says, citing the Dionysus bag, Lady Web bag, Princetown mules, and any runway pieces—while on the vintage side, bags from the ’60s and ’70s and the floral silk scarf (first made on special-order for Grace Kelly) are also hits. For pieces that stand up over time, she suggests looking at Gucci’s loafers, iconic bag styles like the Bamboo, and monogram canvas travel bags such as the Boston. Conversely, designs from the 1980s have less caché today and aren’t generally sought after by collectors. On Vestiaire Collective, she says, standout archival listings have included a rare 1970s navy leather bamboo box bag, which sold for about 600€, or about $670 USD, a pair of two-color lizard moccasins (about $450), and a short jumpsuit, which sold in 24 hours, that Hersan says “could have been produced this season.”
Ahead, shop (or at least drool over) a few of our favorite vintage Gucci pieces available online right now.