Gucci 2.0


Gulf Business - - FEATURES - Varun God­inho

Spear­headed by Alessan­dro Michele, the Gucci Gar­den in Florence is a tes­ta­ment to the brand’s re­nais­sance

CRE­ATIVE DIREC­TORS ARE rab­ble-rousers. They’re brought in with a spe­cific mis­sion to dis­rupt, in­no­vate, de­liver com­mer­cial suc­cess and at­tract crit­i­cal ac­claim all in the space of a sin­gle sea­son.

Lit­tle won­der then that there’s a high burnout rate among them too: Bri­oni’s tat­tooed-to-the-knuckle for­mer cre­ative direc­tor Justin O’Shea is an ex­am­ple of what hap­pens when they get it wrong.

But Gucci’s cre­ative direc­tor Alessan­dro Michele, who took up the ba­ton from Frida Gian­nini three years ago, needn’t worry. From gen­der flu­id­ity to kan­ga­roo fur-lined shoes and in­spi­ra­tions drawn from ob­jects as es­o­teric as a car­pet, he’s not only mak­ing all the right noises, but he’s also in­ject­ing a much-needed vi­brant elixir into the veins of the Ital­ian fash­ion brand.

But ev­ery cre­ative direc­tor that op­er­ates at the level that Michele does, knows that to re­ally be suc­cess­ful in the lon­grun there needs to be brand en­hance­ments beyond the runway. Get­ting Lady Gaga to wear custom Prada when singing the na­tional an­them for a TV au­di­ence of over a 100 mil­lion peo­ple at the Su­per Bowl two years ago was a coup, but how does a brand sus­tain that mo­men­tum?

Michele knows the an­swer. Ear­lier this year, he threw open the doors to the Gucci Gar­den, con­structed in­side a 14th cen­tury struc­ture in the his­toric Palazzo della Mer­canzia in Florence. In many ways it was Michele re­con­nect­ing the brand – which was founded in the his­toric city back in 1921– with its roots, and in many more ways it was break­ing new ground that will drive longterm sus­tain­able growth for the brand.

Gucci Gar­den is Michele’s way of open­ing up the brand to the masses. Sto­ried fash­ion la­bels are of­ten, and many times jus­ti­fi­ably, ac­cused of snub­bing the small guy. In a quest for ex­clu­siv­ity, these brands would rather fo­cus all their at­ten­tion on the 1 per cent that buy their prod­ucts and com­pletely deny the ex­is­tence of the other 99 per cent. Not Michele and not Gucci. Gucci Gar­den is Michele’s way of mak­ing Gucci, and lux­ury fash­ion in gen­eral, less

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