Gucci’s 2015 splash from the then new creative director, Alessandro Michele, is still making waves. Just a few years later, and the Gucci Dionysus line is already a classic. Is it any surprise? These structured beauties easily hold their own among designer top handle and chain shoulder bag cousins from Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Louis Vuitton. What’s more, the iconic hardware and other details of the Gucci Dionysus bags definitely stand up under a closer look.
Let’s start with the eye-catching clasp: the tiger-headed horseshoe. This signature feature of the line is a shout-out to its mythic namesake, the Greek god Dionysus. Dionysus, god of wine and general merry-making, is said to have made a legendary trip across the river that came to be known as the Tigris—he supposedly did so either by changing into a tiger himself or by riding on a tiger gifted to him by Zeus. Proud owners of a Dionysus bag can decide which story inspires them more as they make their own legendary journeys across borders with this version of the tiger in tow.
Knowing that, as Who What Wear recounts, Gucci’s initial target audience was aristocracy of the sort who rode horses for sport, we might also be able to assume that the horseshoe shape is a continuation of Gucci’s equestrian roots—reflected also in their iconic horsebit closures (like the one on this Emily bag--not a Dionysus--below).
Like Gucci’s official website lists, “The Dionysus bag is available in many functions and sizes: chain shoulder bags, mini shoulder bags, top handle bags and hobo bags.” But we see another Gucci signature detail in the top handle variety in particular. The classic bamboo handle, according to Who What Wear, was actually an invention of necessity. In the 1940s, the Italian company, which had originally made its name with fine leather goods, had to improvise when resources were scarce under fascist rule. “Burnished cane” handles started as an alternative, but are now staples in beloved Gucci “bamboo bags.”
The photo above features another now classic element brought about by creativity during wartime. High Snobiety writes that as the brand had to move away from their signature leather into using materials like cotton (leading us to the light and durable canvas varieties), they also developed the “Gucci stripe”—the bold green line cut through with red in the middle
At the release of the Dionysus line, publications noted that this was part of the designer Michele’s effort to reinvigorate the brand’s reputation with a more youthful appeal. The genius of this look, though, is that it does just that without sacrificing the sophistication or classic elements that have kept Gucci one of the top fashion brands since its inception almost 100 years ago.
Which Dionysus look suits you best? Shop now.