“The House of Gucci” author discusses her book ahead of Dubai visit


DUBAI: The American author and journalist Sara Gay Forden describes her first and only book as a late bloomer. “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” was a hard-sell as it faced rejections from publishing houses. Nevertheless, she managed to publish it 20 years ago and it did well with readers in the US. But the family saga has been enjoying a global revival, thanks to the release of the film “House of Gucci” in late 2021. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino, it had the world talking, including Dubai, where Forden will be participating at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Feb. 11 and 12. Forden will be participating at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Feb. 11 and 12. Supplied The whole experience of seeing her book being adapted into a film – opening with the shocking 1995 murder of Italian businessman Maurizio Gucci, orchestrated by his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani – has been a surreal journey for Forden. “When I walked down the red carpet in London for the world premiere of ‘House of Gucci’, Lady Gaga was behind me and I met Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek,” she told Arab News from Washington DC. “I thought this was definitely a Cinderella moment.” Her interest in writing a novel-like book about the rise, fall and re-emergence of the Gucci fashion empire was fostered by her work as a journalist in Milan. She reported on the business side of Italian family-run companies that were turning into mega fashion brands, including Gucci, in the 1980s. She was even in the city when Maurizio was shot. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said. “There was a big gaggle of photographers and camera crews. It was crazy.” Researching the ins and outs of Gucci led her to interview members of the clan, including Maurizio and Patrizia, former Gucci creative director Tom Ford, and the company’s factory and shop workers. “I put so much passion into this book,” Forden said. “I always felt that this is kind of an epic story that has meaning for people everywhere, because it’s about big themes that we struggle with – family, wealth, and jealousy. It’s almost like Shakespeare.” The book’s fascinating narrative takes the reader from the early days of the company, founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921, to its historic expansion in the 1970s. Under the flawed leadership of the indebted Maurizio Gucci in the 1980s, family conflicts that spilled into the public sphere tore the company apart. “There’s an Italian saying,” Forden said, “The first generation creates, the second generation expands, and the third generation destroys.” Today, not a single member of the Gucci family is directly involved in running the business. However, Forden praised Gucci’s innovation and dedication to quality and craftsmanship over the years. “I feel that Gucci, at every stage of its development, was a pioneer,” she said. “They really led the way. Yes, it was a dramatic story, but they also did key things in history that everybody followed. So, they’ve been leaders the whole time.”

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