Long before Tiffany's began making "paper" plates or Balenciaga was turning Ikea-inspired totes into it bags, Gucci, under the direction of former creative director Tom Ford, had a habit of putting its own luxe spin on a surprising amount of non-fashion items. There were hand weights, dog bowls, and yoga mats. Of course, Gucci, at the time, was also known for being somewhat naughty, so there was the infamous Gucci leather "spanker." Perhaps most infamously though, was a pair of silver-plated Gucci handcuffs. The item has reentered the internet's imagination today after people noticed that a pair of the rare handcuffs popped up on the resale site Grailed for the astounding price of $65,000.
More than a dozen years later, it turns out that Ford's vision at Gucci still has a way of provoking.
The item already comes with a bit of an intriguing backstory. The cuffs were produced in 1998, the same year that Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani was sentenced to 29 years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill her husband, Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci. According to press accounts at the time, the handcuffs were widely speculated to have been employed in a way to send a message.
"On the day of Patrizia's conviction, the flagship Gucci store in Florence had the spirit to put a pair of silver handcuffs on display in its window - a sign, if one were needed, that the world of high fashion has no use for ugly family feuds, except as a source of dark, sardonic humour," wrote The Independent at the time.
The coincidence was purely speculative, and anyone even somewhat familiar with Ford's tenure knows he didn't need any extra excuse to produce Gucci-branded handcuffs other than that they would have been provocative under any circumstances.
(For the record, Patrizia was offered a form of parole in 2011, but remains behind bars. "I've never worked in my life and I'm certainly not going to start now," she said at the time).
The handcuffs caught attention in other ways, however. The Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury, known for her cheeky use of luxury items in her work, employed the handcuffs in her installations, films, and silkscreens. She would go on, actually, to produce her own gold versions of the cuffs in the early '00s. They were offered as a limited set of 25.
The handcuffs are also on exhibit at the official Museo Gucci in Florence, where they sit encased next to that leather spanker.
The museum added them to its exhibits after deciding to honor Ford's contributions to the house last year.
So, it's no surprise the Grailed listing is gaining attention. The item certainly is interesting. Though, that price certainly is something of an eye-popper. According to Christie's website, they sold a pair at auction in 2009 for approximately $1913. So if you really need them to go along with your Gucci spanker and your Gucci his-and-hers g-strings from the era, you might be able to find some on the market for a more affordable price.
As for Ford though, he's moved on. He's a little bit over both sexual provocation and putting a designer label on things just because he can.