Gucci may be without a creative director this season (following the departure of Alessandro Michele in November)—but the brand has stayed true to its heritage, with nods to both Michele and Tom Ford’s designs in the fall-winter 2023 collection.
One accessory stood out in particular: the revival of Ford’s Horsebit clutch from fall-winter 2003 and spring-summer 2004, 20 years on. Featuring the Italian fashion house’s signature hardware, the updated chain bag came in an array of colors and prints, including Gucci’s classic monogram design and iconic stripe.
“I always thought the original Gucci Horsebit clutch was slightly overlooked and wondered why it had never reached the status it deserved,” Neil Leonard, a Tom Ford collector and founder of Lab2022, tells Vogue. “One of Ford’s strategies, when he reinvigorated the very sleepy house of Gucci, was to take all the original iconography, blow them up, and [revive] them as the status symbols they once were. The actual Gucci Horsebit on this clutch is huge. It defines iconic.”
Given the popularity of Tom Ford-era Gucci in recent years, it makes sense that the accessory is making a comeback right now. “We’ve been having a Noughties revival for a couple of years now, so the Horsebit clutch revival was pretty logical to me,” Marie Blanchet, founder of Mon Vintage, explains. “Tom Ford’s designs are [among] the most sought after in vintage, too.”
The re-edition of the Horsebit clutch follows the trend of Gucci bringing back old classics from its archive, from its popular Jackie bag to the Diana (popularized by the former Princess of Wales). When both these styles were re-released, there was a surge in demand in the vintage market—meaning it’s time to invest in the original Tom Ford-era bag now.
“When presented with the question of which do I buy—[the original or the re-edition]—I always give a similar response: the original, of course,” Leonard says. “Many out there are still in great condition and can be bought for a very reasonable price.”
Kendall Jenner was an early adopter of the Horsebit clutch, sporting a monogrammed version featuring a lime green and yellow stripe several times, including back in 2019. For Blanchet—who currently has a selection of vintage Horsebit clutches available as part of her ongoing partnership with Printemps in Paris—the fall-winter 2003 runway styles in leather, as well as the monogram canvas and colored satin version featured in the brand’s spring/summer 2004 campaign, shot by Guido Mocafico, are the designs to look out for.
As well as bringing the Horsebit clutch back to the fore, Gucci’s fall-winter 2023 show offered an alternative way of styling the bag, too—held as a clutch, rather than worn over the shoulder. “It gives it a twist, allowing women today to reinterpret it and style it in a more modern way,” Blanchet concludes.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.