Aldo Gucci dies, 84; Expanded Fashion House in U.S

Aldo Gucci dies, 84; Expanded Fashion House in U.S.

Published: Sunday, January 21, 1990

Aldo Gucci, the last surviving son of the founder of the elite Italian fashion house that bore his family name, died on Friday in Rome, the company said today. He was 84 years old.

A spokeswoman for Guccio Gucci Sp.A. said Mr. Gucci fell into a coma on Thursday afternoon. She did not give a cause of death. [ANSA, the Italian news agency, said Mr. Gucci was hospitalized a week ago for treatment of prostate cancer, The Associated Press reported.] Mr. Gucci, who held a 40 percent stake in the company, once supervised Gucci’s operations in the United States. In January 1986 he pleaded guilty to evading more than $7 million in United States taxes and served a year in jail.

Son of Company’s Founder

Aldo Gucci was the last surviving son of Guccio Gucci, a Florentine saddlemaker who founded the company in 1904 as a seller of boots and saddles.

Gucci has since turned to providing the world’s wealthy with fashion goods ranging from silk scarves to jewelry to shoes and handbags. The company has more than 150 shops across Europe and the United States.

Aldo Gucci is credited by his eldest son, Giorgio, with masterminding a successful move into the American luxury market.

”He was the first to see the huge opportunities in the U.S.,” Giorgio Gucci said of his father. ”It’s thanks to our store on Fifth Avenue that our name became well known among Americans.”

President Kennedy, on meeting Aldo Gucci at the White House, told him, ”You are the first Italian ambassador of fashion.”

Family Disputes in Court

Aldo Gucci saw the fashion house grow despite seemingly endless family haggling. A simmering family dispute exploded into open hostility in 1980 when Paolo Gucci, one of Aldo’s three sons, left the group and tried to bring out a line of products under his own name. The move brought lawsuits, and a New York court ultimately blocked the attempt.

Last month an appeals court cleared Aldo’s nephew Maurizio Gucci, former chairman of the company, of attempted fraud relating to the inheritance of company shares.

The decision overturned a November judgment under which Maurizio Gucci was given a one-year suspended jail sentence for allegedly forging his dead father’s signature on documents transferring 50 percent of shares in the company.

ANSA said the funeral would be held at a Roman Catholic church in Rome on Monday and that the body would be taken to Florence for burial in the family mausoleum there.

Mr. Gucci is survived by his wife, the former Olwen Price, and three sons, Roberto, Giorgio and Paolo.

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