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The House of Gucci, better known simply as Gucci (Italian pronunciation utt i), is an Italian fashion and leather goods label, part of the Gucci Group, which is owned by French company PPR. Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921. Gucci generated circa 4.2 billion in revenue worldwide in 2008 according to BusinessWeek magazine and climbed to 41st position in the magazines annual 2009 “Top Global 100 Brands” chart created by Interbrand. Gucci is also the biggest-selling Italian brand. Gucci operates about 278 directly operated stores worldwide (as of September 2009) and it wholesales its products through franchisees and upscale department stores. From modest beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century, the Gucci company became one of the world s most successful manufacturers of high-end leather goods, clothing, and other fashion products. As an immigrant in Paris and then London, working in exclusive hotels, young Guccio Gucci (1881 1953) was impressed with the luxurious luggage he saw sophisticated guests bring with them. Upon returning to his birthplace of Florence, a city distinguished for high-quality materials and skilled artisans, he established a shop in 1920 that sold fine leather goods with classic styling. Although Gucci organized his workrooms for industrial methods of production, he maintained traditional aspects of fabrication. Initially Gucci employed skilled workers in basic Florentine leather crafts, attentive to finishing. With expansion, machine stitching was a production method that supported construction. Together with three of his sons, Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo, Gucci expanded the company to include stores in Milan and Rome as well as additional shops in Florence. Gucci s stores featured such finely crafted leather accessories as handbags, shoes, and his iconic ornamented loafer as well as silks and knitwear in a signature pattern. The Gucci loafer is the only shoe in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.