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 Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch

By The Rebag Team, Mar. 23, 2023

Christian Dior x Rebag

Gucci 101: How a Tom Ford Era Handbag Is Making a Comeback

Attendees and fashion experts at Gucci’s Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear show could not help but notice the reappearance of one of the Italian fashion brand’s most iconic — and, until now, underrated — handbags: the Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch bag. Reinterpreted many times, is this the fashion world’s next “It” bag?

Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch 101

A beloved handbag that has become a modern classic for the luxury Italian fashion house, Gucci’s Horsebit Chain Clutch is making a comeback. Featuring an iconic Horsebit detail, which is shaped after a horse’s snaffle bit, this timeless clutch has been reinterpreted over the years in a variety of materials, sizes, and colors to suit changing fashion trends. Take a closer look at the history and design of the Gucci Horsebit Clutch and learn how to style this versatile piece for different occasions.

An Iconic Design

The Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch is a small, compact bag that is ideal for evening events, parties, or any occasion where you need to carry your essentials without being weighed down. It is designed with a classic elongated envelope shape. The style features a polished gold-tone horsebit accent on the front, which adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to its overall look.

From Classic to Daring: Materials of the Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch

The iconic style can be found in a variety of fabrications depending on season and availability including leather, suede, canvas, and velvet. Aside from that, Gucci has also produced unique edition versions of the Horsebit Chain Clutch bag using exotic materials such as python and alligator skin.

Reinventions Through the Years

Gucci’s Horsebit Chain Clutch has seen a fair share of evolution as the Florentine label’s creative direction has changed. Original 2000s models include medium and large shoulder bags in traditional fabrications in canvas and leather. That being said, recent years’ revivals of the striking bag style also include versions that feature different (usually larger) sizes of the horsebit detail. Models with embossed, quilted, or exotic leather, crystals, and metallic finishes, as well as different chain strap lengths, widths, and materials are also available.

Three Distinct Appearances

The Tom Ford Era

Then-creative director Tom Ford re-introduced the original 1970s design during his 2003 Autumn/Winter collection for Gucci, featuring it once more on the brand’s Spring/Summer 2004 runway.

Frida Giannini and the G. Gucci Firenze 1921 Collection

As part of Gucci’s 90th anniversary, house designer Frida Giannini devised a celebratory collection for the brand.

It included a range of products, from apparel to footwear and accessories

— including versions of the Horsebit Chain Clutch.

The 2023 Reappearance

Gucci’s Fall 2023 show presented viewers and brand admirers with new versions of the Horsebit Chain Clutch,

including iterations in shearling, leather, and new, modern shades like neon yellow or bright orange.

Styling Guide: How to Wear the Horsebit Chain Clutch

This versatile handbag can be styled in many ways. Dress it up with stiletto heels for formal occasions or down with a denim jacket or blazer and jeans for a more casual look. Let the iconic Horsebit detail speak for itself by pairing it with a simple outfit in a neutral color, or mix and match patterns to add visual interest. The bag has a detachable chain strap so, aside from using it as a shoulder bag, you can also carry it as a clutch.

Everything You Need to Know About the Gucci Horsebit Chain Clutch

The design of the Horsebit detail can be traced back to the 1950s when Gucci’s founder, Guccio Gucci, was inspired by the equestrian world and the elegance of horse riding. Shaped like a horse’s snaffle bit, the Horsebit detail was originally used on Gucci’s loafers and quickly became a signature design element for the brand.

The Horsebit Chain Clutch was first introduced in the 1970s and quickly became a popular style for Gucci. It has been reinterpreted over the years in a variety of materials, sizes, and colors to suit changing fashion trends and market needs. Faced with the peak in popularity of other Y2K bags (most notably, Louis Vuitton monograms and Fendi Baguettes), Ford’s take on the elongated clutch didn’t quite hit “It Bag” status after appearing in his Fall 2003 collection. Nevertheless, it became a bestseller item for Gucci. A short time afterward, the bag was featured in the Fall 2003 campaign, shot by no other than Mario Testino. 2011 saw designer Frida Giannini incorporate the bag into the G. Gucci Firenze 1921 collection in honor of the brand’s 90th anniversary. Most recently, the bag resurfaced in the Italian brand’s Fall 2023 ready-to-wear runway show, where the design team (sans creative director) drew inspiration from the past thirty years of the label’s history to bring forward new versions of the iconic handbag.

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