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December 20, 2012

Gucci in Bloom!

Text by Shirin Mehta. Photo Courtesy Gucci Museo Collection.

Florentine House Gucci inaugurates its fifth store in India, in Gurgaon, and celebrates the event with typical panache. Verve reports…

To stylishly enhance the season of celebration and merry making, Gucci, founded in Florence in 1921 and today one of the world’s leading luxury fashion brands, opens its fifth store in India and the third in the Delhi NCR Region, at the Oberoi Hotel, Gurgaon. The new store is indeed an assertion of the Italian brand’s commitment to the Indian market, spanning more than 4220 square feet over two floors, making it the largest Gucci store in the country.

Presenting an interior concept by the House’s creative director, Frida Giannini, the innovative store design concept employs open space, warm luxurious materials and natural light, presenting a departure from ‘traditional codified fashion retail spaces’. The use of signature Gucci materials like rosewood and marble have been augmented with the introduction of new elements like ribbed glass, warm polished gold, smoked mirror and smoked bronze glass, recalling the elegance of the Art Deco era. Geometric lines, including stylised characterisation of Gucci’s signature web striping define the interiors. The floor is covered in white marble, sliced by a wide black marble strip that runs underfoot, up the wall and onto the ceiling overhead. A fused bronze glass with a striped cross section and cracked lacquer is employed on shelving and display cases. Bronze glass and bronze mirror used on the walls add a feeling of warmth and intimacy. This spectacular interior paves the way for Gucci’s 21st century contemporary look.

Proud and happy to present sartorial history in the making, Gucci celebrates and commemorates this opening with an exclusive month-long exhibition of iconic pieces from the Gucci Museo, at the Gurgaon store. This collection will represent the House’s eternal icon, the Flora pattern, a print that finds contemporary expression in the Cruise 2013 Collection, throughout the Gucci woman’s free-spirited wardrobe. This exhibition is composed of flora scarves from the ’60s, bags from Giannini’s first collection in 2005, women’s ready to wear pieces including mini dresses, blouses and gowns with the Flora print, original drawings of floral scarves from the ’60s and ’70s by illustrator Vittorio Accornero, handbags with the Flora and unique porcelain items such as flora cachepots, ashtrays, glasses, mugs and a lamp.

In addition to this, a selection of evening gowns from the House’s Florentine archive will be on display at the store’s VIP Lounge Area on the first floor. The designs include Gucci Premiere dresses worn by Jessica Alba and Berenice Bejo at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards, Salma Hayek Pinault’s from 2011 Cannes Film Festival and a one of a kind dress worn by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. A large selection of the Flora iconic pieces and evening gowns will be showcased for the first time.

Not to leave out the boys and the men, the store offers Gucci’s exclusive Made to Measure service, a personalised, luxury sartorial offering for the modern day gentleman. The range of exclusive, top-quality materials includes nearly 82 textiles, which allow 178 possible combinations of colours and fabrics – wool, cashmere and mohair in classic shades of grey, navy blue and brown, alongside silk satin, velvet and baby lama for evening, with diamante embroidery and jacquards featuring the House’s iconic horsebit in tone-on-tone combinations.  A selection of customisable options in finishes and details allows for impeccable personal tailoring according to the client’s individual measurements. Says Giannini: “With Gucci’s Made in Italy tradition and sartorial expertise, personalised formalwear is the ultimate way for a man to express his own style.” The Made to Measure service is completed by a customised selection of shirts as well as a Made to Order service for signature men’s shoes, allowing for selection of material, colour, width as well as embossing of one’s name or initials.

So, even as you flaunt that one of a kind Gucci handbag from the Made to Order handbag programme, make sure that your better half looks impeccably ‘flauntable’ as well.

The Cruise 2013 collection, A free-spirited wardrobe for a sophisticated retreat…. Capri anyone?
Says Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini of the Cruise 2013 collection: “This season I drew inspiration from the House’s Flora pattern to revisit the silhouette, volumes, and colours of the late ’60s and early ’70s….”

Expect: A contrast between slim, ultra feminine silhouettes and and loose wide lines with a vaguely masculine style. Short lightweight tunic dresses to wear with low sandals, flowing kaftans. Ruffles, gathers and pleats. Racer necklines. Masculine pants with darts and flare styles paired with large blouses and deconstructed, oversized trenches. Cardigan-style jackets, Djellaba tops typical of the French colonies in North Africa. Fully embroidered mini and maxi tunic dresses in pastel silk georgette for evening.

Colour palette: From neutral tones of natural white, clay, blue denim, burnt sand, desert rose and hazel to feminine tones of bubble gum, vintage rose, primula and pale shades of yellow, lilac and jade.

Flora: The iconic Flora pattern undergoes a contemporary interpretation with intricate games of overlapping graphics – for infinity degradè prints, all-over designs and symmetries that embrace the body. Vertical Baiadera stripes appear on light pants in silk linen.

Accessories: A relaxed, eclectic mood and a variety of proportions. Tribal jewellery, straw hats, aviator sunglasses. The Soho bag takes on new shapes; the mini disco dons a variety of colours and the chain-strap shoulder bag thrills. The Flora motif blossoms on day bags such as the Jackie. The timeless horsebit moccasin celebrates its 60th anniversary…flat thongs, ankle sandals, low heels, and a high heel featuring an intricate woven leather construction…. Embrace it all….

Creative Director Frida Giannini reveals, to Shirin Mehta, what the Flora icon means to her…

What prompted you to revive the Flora print?
When I joined Gucci in 2002, one of my first requests was to visit the House’s archive. When I saw the Flora print in the archive, I thought it would be interesting to apply it to accessories, so my first collection when I became Creative Director of Accessories was with the Flora pattern. I wanted to design something very feminine, less sexy and more sensual.

I was always fascinated by the story behind its creation: in 1966 the print was exclusively designed after Princess Grace visited Gucci’s Via Monte Napoleone store with her husband Prince Ranier. On that occasion, Rodolfo Gucci wanted to present her with a special gift and commissioned artist Vittorio Accornero to create a floral pattern on an original silk scarf as a symbolic bouquet. It is a story that is very close to the spirit and the legacy of the House.

A symbol of a delicate and poetic imagination and now that more than 40 years have passed since its creation, the theme of Flora remains suspended between a fascination with the past and the future of a story which continues to be sketched over time.

How has the design been made more contemporary?
This season I drew inspiration from the House’s Flora pattern to revisit the silhouette, volumes, and colours of the late ’60s and early ’70s, the effortlessness of Marisa Berenson and Veruschka influenced by contemporary intuition to wear colour and print. I wanted to create intricate games of overlapping graphics – for infinity degradé prints, all-over designs and symmetries that embrace the body.

What is your earliest memory of the Flora print?
My first memories of the Flora pattern are from my childhood in the ’70s – many women in Italy wore the printed scarves – my mother and grandmother. In my eyes, it was a very recognisable design.

Where does Flora figure in your own wardrobe?
My mother had an original Flora scarf which she gifted me. I brought it with me to London when I moved to work for Gucci. Today one of my favourites is the Flora stripe degradè printed dress – I love the movement that the pleats create in this design.

In what, according to you, lies the eternal appeal of this print?
Among the classics, Flora is an icon of continuity from the precious historical archives, which revives every season with its evocative and timeless graphic power. An image inspired by fairy-tales and real life, which continues to be reinvented with passion.

How do you visualise it in the wardrobe of the Indian woman?
Today the Flora motif blossoms on natural canvas for a variety of signature handbag styles including the New Jackie and New Bamboo. It is also combined with other Gucci symbols and appears on dresses, accessories, jewellery, and even gave rise to the name of one of the most famous perfumes created by the House.

Limited Edition
To celebrate the opening of Gucci’s new flagship store in Gurgaon, Creative Director Frida Giannini  has created a special edition of evening bags inspired by the pastel summer shades of the Cruise 2013 collection, including two luxurious bags in exotic pink tan and blue aqua  Anaconda skin. A plaque carries the Gucci logo and the name of the boutique inside. This limited edition collection will be available exclusively at the new Gucci flagship store in Gurgaon.

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