FRESH PRINTS

How Emilio Pucci’s im­age direc­tor is bringing the house’s sto­ried archive to the mil­len­nial set.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - By GE­ORGINA SAFE

Lau­do­mia Pucci brings her fam­ily her­itage into the light.

LAU­DO­MIA PUCCI is sip­ping her first cof­fee of the day in her fam­ily’s 600-year-old palace, a stone’s throw from Michelan­gelo’s David and the Duomo, with its sub­lime dome by Filippo Brunelleschi.“italy can be very warm at this time of year, but it’s a beau­ti­ful morn­ing,” she says.

As far as Re­nais­sance ro­mance goes, it doesn’t get much more beau­ti­ful than Florence, a city so rav­ish­ing it spawned Stend­hal syn­drome, a psy­cho­so­matic dis­or­der that causes a racing heart, faint­ing and even hal­lu­ci­na­tions when a per­son is ex­posed to great art. But as tourists ooh and ahh while jug­gling guide books and gelato in the Pi­azza del Duomo nearby, for Lau­do­mia Pucci it’s busi­ness as usual in­side the Pucci palazzo, which has been home to her fam­ily for cen­turies, and, for the past 70 years, to the epony­mous brand founded by her fa­ther, Emilio Pucci, in 1947.

“I’ve al­ways seen this space as a mix­ture of a home, be­cause my fam­ily al­ways lived here, and a place of work, be­cause of my fa­ther’s ac­tiv­ity, which then be­came mine,” says the Pucci im­age direc­tor.“later, when my own chil­dren were grow­ing up, they would come into my of­fice, which goes back to the era of the Re­nais­sance, when chil­dren would work with their par­ents, be­cause that’s the Ital­ian way.”

He may have been Ital­ian, but Emilio saw a global op­por­tu­nity for glam­our when he founded Pucci with a sin­gle stream­lined ski out­fit, which prompted the idea for a brand after it was pho­tographed on the slopes of Switzer­land for Harper’s BAZAAR. An avid skier and ath­lete who trav­elled be­tween his fam­ily’s Floren­tine palazzo, the moun­tains of Switzer­land and the re­sort is­land of Capri, Pucci the man em­bod­ied the post­war jet-set glam­our that cap­ti­vated a new gen­er­a­tion of mod­ern, ac­tive women whom he went on to dress in re­sort cloth­ing de­fined by fluid sil­hou­ettes and boldly pat­terned prints.

“It’s la dolce vita and an Ital­ian post­card life­style, but there is a sense of world­li­ness and be­ing open to in­ter­na­tional in­spi­ra­tions be­cause my fa­ther loved trav­el­ling and dif­fer­ent cul­tures,” Lau­do­mia says. (Emilio had a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for Aus­tralia: in 1974 he cre­ated uni­forms for Qan­tas, and a scarf with a print of Syd­ney Opera House). Lau­do­mia joined the fam­ily busi­ness when she grad­u­ated from univer­sity in Rome, but as it was be­com­ing known around the world for its in­tox­i­cat­ing mix of colour and print, she left and went to Paris to work for Hu­bert de Givenchy.“the truth is my fa­ther was very tal­ented, but he was also very de­mand­ing,” Lau­do­mia says.“i was very young and it wasn’t easy, so after three and a half years I was cu­ri­ous to see some­thing else.”

She re­turned in 1989 and took over run­ning the com­pany at just 28 years old after her fa­ther’s death in 1992. “I had no choice; I was thrown in and I just had to start swim­ming,” she says. While she swam with gen­tle strokes ini­tially, Lau­do­mia soon re­cruited a se­ries of de­sign­ers — most re­cently Peter Dun­das and Mas­simo Gior­getti — to rein­vig­o­rate the com­pany fol­low­ing its ac­qui­si­tion by the LVMH group in 2000.“You have to play the mu­sic of your mo­ment; you can­not be nostal­gic or do re-edi­tions of what the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion has done,” she says.“you must be able to take your his­tory and sto­ry­telling and bring it to new con­sumers, new gen­er­a­tions and new mar­kets.”

Talk to any big com­pany th­ese days and they’ll tell you the quick­est way to freshen things up is to bring in the mil­len­ni­als, and Pucci is no ex­cep­tion. “I of­ten say that com­pa­nies when they get older are a lit­tle bit like vam­pires: they are al­ways look­ing for fresh blood,” Lau­do­mia says with a laugh. “But it’s ab­so­lutely true, and I’m fas­ci­nated with the young.”

So much so that she re­cruited fashion stu­dents from Cen­tral Saint Martins in London and Florence’s Polimoda to help cre­ate a ‘her­itage hub’ within Palazzo Pucci, which opened in June dur­ing the Pitti Uomo menswear fair. Ded­i­cated to pre­serv­ing the brand’s his­tory while pre­sent­ing it in a con­tem­po­rary man­ner, the hub is also de­signed as an in­cu­ba­tor for young tal­ents, who for its open­ing pro­duced an ex­hi­bi­tion of gar­ments drawn from the archive within a space re­mod­elled by ar­chi­tect Piero Lis­soni, who also cre­ated a dig­i­tal li­brary with a video wall.the stu­dents ri­fled through the archives with fresh eyes, pulling out pieces as di­verse as a pearl bikini and 1960s tur­bans to clothe a menagerie of dressmaker’s dum­mies, one of which is clad en­tirely in spiky raf­fia, con­structed by Ital­ian man­nequin com­pany Bon­averi in heights rang­ing from 20 cen­time­tres to six me­tres.when the ex­hi­bi­tion Bon­averi, A Fan of Pucci opened, they had been po­si­tioned through­out the palazzo, in its sa­lons, on the stairs and across the court­yard, to bring en­ergy and play­ful­ness to the his­tor­i­cal build­ing and to the archives them­selves. “When you have a very big and im­por­tant archive, peo­ple can find it daunt­ing and heavy, so I wanted to bring it alive with a fresh per­spec­tive and un­usual in­ter­pre­ta­tions,” Lau­do­mia says.

She ap­plied a sim­i­lar ap­proach to meld­ing past and fu­ture seven years ear­lier, when she over­saw the tan­dem open­ing of a pri­vate mu­seum and a stu­dent tal­ent cen­tre at Villa di Granaiolo, an­other Re­nais­sanceera res­i­dence owned by the Pucci fam­ily, this one 40 kilo­me­tres from Florence, out­side the vil­lage of Castelfiorentino. Fashion stu­dents from around the world have since vis­ited to work on cre­ative pro­jects there, the lat­est of which will launch on Oc­to­ber 12, along with an­other at Palazzo Pucci, as part of the global LVMH event Les Journées Par­ti­c­ulières. Founded in 2011, the event is essen­tially a global open week­end for the pub­lic to dis­cover 76 places on four con­ti­nents where LVMH ar­ti­sans, de­sign­ers and other cre­atives work, along with the her­itage of 56 maisons. Palazzo Pucci will run tours of the com­pany’s archives, ex­plain­ing how the brand’s his­tory is used to nur­ture in­spi­ra­tion and the com­pany cul­ture to­day, while Villa di Granaiolo will host an ex­hi­bi­tion and print de­sign and pat­tern­mak­ing work­shops where in­ter­na­tional stu­dents will work with Pucci’s in-house ex­perts as part of the three-day event. “There is a sense of con­ti­nu­ity in Pucci that clients are happy to find, but when you have a brand DNA that is so strong, you are able to play with it and evolve it,” Lau­do­mia says.“you can’t re­fresh and mod­ernise or keep the com­pany at­trac­tive if you don’t have tal­ent.”

Emilio Pucci is stocked at Har­rolds, har­rolds.com.au. For more in­for­ma­tion on Les Journées Par­ti­c­ulières, visit lvmh.com.

“You have to play the mu­sic of your mo­ment; you can­not be nostal­gic or do re-edi­tions of what the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion has done.” – LAU­DO­MIA PUCCI

A look from Emilio Pucci pre-fall 2018 (and above). In­set, from top: a 1974 Emilio Pucci scarf for Qan­tas; a foulard from A/W 2018. Far right: Lau­do­mia Pucci.

Man­nequins in archival Emilio Pucci dis­played in Palazzo Pucci’s Sala Bianca, part of Bon­averi, A Fan of Pucci.

All looks: Emilio Pucci A/W 2018.

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