If ‘Tom Ford-era Gucci’ is one of your saved Vestiaire or eBay searches, you’re not alone. Blame it on the Y2K renaissance or the fact that those velvet suits and slinky shirts never seem to date; the designer’s early-aughts creations are in high demand. Top of our wish lists? Gucci’s Horsebit Chain bag. Ornamented by an XL version of the house’s bridle-inspired ‘horsebit’, it looks just as good as it did 20 years ago, when it made its first appearance at Gucci’s autumn/winter 2003 show.
Though the bag is an icon of the aughts, its namesake hardware dates back to the 1950s. The horsebit (a miniature version of the metal rings on a horse’s bridle) was created in 1953 by Guccio Gucci’s sons, Aldo, Rodolfo and Vasco, as an homage to their late father’s love of equestrian motifs. They applied it to the now-iconic loafer – a shoe that was enshrined as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in 1985, and revived in its original guise (and christened the Horsebit 1953 loafer) in 2013.
Guccio Gucci’s fondness for horse riding-inspired style is reported to have been sparked while he was working as a luggage porter at The Savoy Hotel in London. There, he got a glimpse into the lives and styles of the elite, many of whom favoured an equestrian aesthetic – on and off the racecourse. The shape of the iconic Bamboo bag, for example, is said to have been modelled after a saddle.
The Gucci brothers first applied the horsebit to a bag in 1955