Luxury fashion brand Gucci opened its new 10,700 square foot store on 63 Wooster Street on Saturday May 5, 2018 with the festivities beginning at 9 PM. The store is an ode to the luxury culture of Gucci and designed to connect the consumers to the brand on a more intimate level. Gucci’s clothing is usually departmentalized while this shop is all about storytelling, manager Dan Winchester explained (unlike its more conventional flagship store at Trump Tower). The front of the store contains a capsule collection of Dapper Dan clothing which will be sold exclusively at the Soho location for the next two months. Dapper Dan is a tailor from Harlem who loves to take old pieces and make them new with Dapper Dan tracksuits and jackets available in Gucci material.
Much of the store mixes preppy with sporty where expertly tailored designs are paired with sneakers and loafers allowing customers to have some fun with pricey fashion. Prices for one-of-a-kind off the runway gowns can range from $30,000-$50,000; premium jewelry pieces can be upwards of $100,000; and Gucci designed chairs range from $3,000-$5,000-this store sells everything. The massive screen in the middle of the store will feature independent films that can be viewed with wireless headsets and a bookstore/library is to be placed in the back. There will be all kind of perks set up for those termed “VIG”‘s (very important Gucci purchasers), including free shipping and tailoring; buying customers cake on their birthday, and making people feel at home in the store. The store was conceptualized by Alessandro Michele and his staff in Italy and has been hurriedly in the works for the past four months so its opening would coincide with the Met Gala. Alessandro Michele, 47, creative director of Gucci since 2015 has literally taken the fashion world by storm with his unique designs of snakes, tigers, and bows.
Michele’s long hair and mix-and-match attire was on full display this evening as he stood in the center greeting attendees. Wunderkind Michele is responsible for all of Gucci’s collections as well as its global brand image; a task that would be difficult for twenty designers to execute. His effortless creations have revolutionized the fashion world ranging from his fur loafers and bow tie shoes to his tiger and snake sweaters and dresses. His maximalist designs where “more is more” have also spearheaded a new movement in menswear where men are encouraged to experiment with floral embroidered tuxedos with intricate embellishments and suits that are daring, yet dignified.
However, while Michele may be the face of the brand a significant amount of credit goes to CEO Marco Bizzarri who began at Gucci in 2014 and almost immediately named Michele creative director. Bizzarri also utilized some brilliant strategic moves including ending the brand’s markdown policy, favoring cross-gendered collections and fashion shows and amplifying Gucci’s digital strategy to increase its customer base on social networks. The results have been astounding with sales rising 45% to 7.6 billion in 2017. Bizzarri looks like an Italian movie star with his 6 ft. 5 inch frame, smashing accent and black-rimmed glasses and suit. He tried unsuccessfully to keep a low profile but was congratulated continually by the enthusiastic crowd. Celebrities love Gucci and tonight more than 500 fashion luminaries, superstars and eccentric New Yorkers came out to pay homage to the brand and its master.
The massive, sweltering room contained fashion influencers Linda Fargo, Stefano Tonchi and Hamish Bowles. Standing next to Michele was his clone-actor Jared Leto who wears almost exclusively Gucci and looks fantastic doing it. The two were bombarded by throngs of admirers. Handsome Rapper A$AP Rocky joined Michele and was kind enough to patiently pose for pictures with fans- a rarity in the celebrity world. A$AP will not be attending this year’s Met Gala since he is busy working on a new album. Hats off to this prince of a man who was kind enough to get on the phone with my nephew-who is a major fan. Joining Rocky was rapper A Boogie, Paris Jackson, and Nicky Hilton. The group “Surfbort” performed in the back of the room as waiters handed out hors d’oeuvres and cannolis. At 11:30 PM Salma Hayek, clad in head-to-toe Gucci, arrived with her husband Francois Pinault who is Chairman and CEO of Kering (which owns Gucci). Hayek stayed for a short time but was warm and friendly shaking hands with attendees and embracing Michele. At 12 AM the crowd came to a standstill when Queen Rihanna waltzed in with a NY shirt, a black hat and major eyelashes. Rihanna entered a dressing room, stayed there for a half hour and then exited surreptitiously through the back door. Unfortunately, Michele and Bizzarri were long gone missing out on the epic entrance of badgal RiRi-someone who mirrors the brands’ paradigm of rebellion and self expression.