If Hedi Slimane’s revamp of Saint Laurent was radical, Alessandro Michele’s artistic takeover of Gucci is certainly giving that transformation a run for its money. Since he assumed the position of artistic director of the Italian house in January of this year following the swift and quiet exit of Frida Giannini, the former head of accessories has ushered in a new era for Gucci, eschewing the military styling and Mod styles for something altogether more bohemian and languid – a romantic lightness that, just a few seasons in, has so deeply permeated the fashion landscape that even some of the world’s biggest luxury houses are following suit.
Given the importance of a physical retail presence in the digital age – the bricks-and-mortar store becoming, more than ever, a beacon of a brand’s design ethos and a customer-centric ‘experience’ – it’s little wonder that with the arrival of Mr Michele’s first collection, fall/winter 2015-16, to market comes an overhaul of Gucci’s flagship store on Via Montenapoleone in the design heartland of Milan, the brand’s home.
The store’s design, much like the collection, is soft and welcoming, with details such as velvet armchairs, gilded trunk, varnished iron wall finishes and marble staircases. “Today, we live in a world of contrasts and it is this that makes life interesting,” explains Mr Michele of Gucci’s new store design, which will soon roll out to all locations. “The new store design not only brings together diverse elements, blurring the lines between the traditional and the contemporary, but also allows the clothes and accessories to speak for themselves.”
Gucci’s new CEO and president, Marco Bizzarri, adds that “the new store design is one of the key ways in which we are communicating Gucci’s new identity and it is not by chance that we are showcasing this at our Milan flagship store, coinciding with the start of fashion week. The new contemporary vision for the brand is now clearly beginning to come to life across multiple touch-points: Alessandro’s new collections, new advertising campaigns, new store windows, new packaging and now a brand new store concept.”