THE GUCCI GARDEN IN FLORENCE, SPEARHEADED BY ALESSANDRO MICHELE, IS A TESTAMENT TO THE BRAND’S RENAISSANCE
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