Fashion

It’s 2019, Why Is Gucci's Marmont Belt Still a Status Symbol?

Those coveted double G's are more than just a passing trend.
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Amid the plethora of trendy accessories that are released every season, rarely does a product emerge as an enduring standout like Gucci's Marmont belt. There have been a handful of such cult classics like a Chanel 2.55, a pair of Ferragamo flats, or an Hermès Birkin, but this happens once in a blue moon. Back in 2015, these old-time classics were somehow eclipsed when Alessandro Michele made his debut in the fall season as the Italian brand’s new creative director. His models were hip grannies from the ‘70s who donned glitter, shine, a ton of colorful layers—topped with the Marmont belt: a leather strip fronted by the brand’s new interlocking G’s logo.

From that point on, the brand experienced a resurgence in popularity, once again reclaiming its status as one of the top luxury brands in the world. There are statistics to back it up. People were quick to adopt the belt into their everyday wardrobes, and the piece instantly became a street style favorite among celebrities and society mavens alike, or basically anyone who could afford to shell out upwards of 350.

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Photo by COURTESY OF GUCCI / STORES SPECIALISTS INC.

The Marmont belt has been achieving unprecedented success.

Year after year, the belt reigned as one of the 'It' accessories. In 2017, the Marmont belt was the third most-shopped fashion item, based on the Lyst Index. It was followed by the Balenciaga sock sneaker at second place, and Gucci’s own blooms slides taking the top spot.

According to InStyle, the belt rose up the ranks in 2018, proof that people were still craving for more. In fact, The Zoe Report even notes that vintage e-commerce websites have experienced an increase in demand for Gucci’s older belt styles, indicating people’s familiarity with the modern Marmont and their desire to get their hands on vintage versions.

The belt’s success also largely represents Gucci’s meteoric rise in the industry since Michele took the reins in 2015. (The last quarter of 2015 alone, saw a revenue increase of 13 percent.) The brand experienced steady growth in annual revenue after years of financial struggles.

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It is part of a long history of logomania.

Logo belts seem to have been around forever, but it was only in the 1960s and 1970s that logos starting to take root in fashion. Gucci’s first-ever belt was created in 1964. Decades before this, logos were not relevant at all. It wasn’t until the 1930s that brands started to create a distinct visual symbol to represent their identity, and it was around this time that Gucci had created its double-G logo, designed by Aldo Gucci. This was the emblematic logo that would forever be associated with the glory of the Italian house, starting with the popularity of its '70s and '80s monogram. The recognizable monogram was usually accented by the iconic stripe of green and red.

Logomania evolved since then, and in the 2000s, things got even splashier with logo-emblazoned products that often bordered on excessiveness. Ana Correa, an associate editor of accessories and footwear for WGSN, shared with The Zoe Report that this can still be seen today, as evidenced by the logomania trend of 2017. 

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When Alessandro Michele gave Gucci’s interlocking G’s logo a makeover, people were probably reminded of the good old horsebit belt of decades past and wanted a fresh, modern version. It also helped that logomania was hip again. In short, people simply got on the trend, but by the looks of the belt’s strong au courant status, it seems that there’s more to it than just riding with the times.

Let’s face it, the belt is a status symbol.

Much like other luxury goods before it, the belt has become a wardrobe staple not only because of its sartorial acclaim but the way it hints at the wearer’s social status. Obviously, logomania is reserved for those who could afford these luxury brands. The logos thus served as an I.D. badge to those belonging to the upper echelons of society—but that’s not something new.

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Put into a fresh perspective: logomania (especially in the case of Gucci) was previously brandished only by the higher-ups; at present, however, Gucci isn’t just for the upper-class but for the younger, working generation as well. This probably started with Michele’s fun take on Gucci. That’s what made the Marmont a unique case of wild popularity.

"It's great for an older market who has money, but not just for them — we've seen that it's a key item for a younger audience as well," Correa posits.

Thus, those double G’s mean two different things. For the older (and usually old-moneyed generation), the Marmont belt is a reminder of their wealth and their on-trend style. On the other hand, when worn by a working millennial, those interlocking G’s confirm their increased disposable income. At an average of $350, the belt is the perfect gateway product to the luxury market and lifestyle—it's also a subtle "big purchase." It’s no wonder rising influencers and wealthy fledglings are choosing the belt as a status symbol.

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A slice of luxury

But beyond ulterior motives and social subtexts is a simple reason: A sleek leather belt is a practical and versatile purchase that can be worn with virtually anything, just as long as it's styled well. Plus, it's an investment with the logo of a classic Italian fashion house that will stand the test of time. And who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

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