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A fake Gucci café opened in Moscow

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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image: Courtesy of Gucci

A Gucci eatery has popped in Moscow. With plush double G upholstery, tongue-in-cheek branding and a looming Café Gucci logo, it appears to be a bonafide hack not unlike the luxury house’s hacking of Balenciaga several seasons ago.

Except that Gucci has paused operations in Russia, where like most international brands it has closed its stores since the invasion of Ukraine. The Gucci-themed restaurant has since been confirmed as an unauthorised pop-up, with Gucci stating this week it “did not give any consent, permission or rights to [anyone to] open and manage this institution, whether under contract or otherwise.”

While at closer glance the execution veers far from Gucci’s veritable quality – the fabrics, the finishing, the tableware - the entrepreneurial organisers intended to not replicate Gucci's unequivocal standards but to bring back a familiar luxury to locals who miss the presence of Western brands since sanctions gripped the country.

With the logo spelled backwards and upside down above the entrance, the monogram upholstery slightly off with the placement of its G’s, the organisers believe they have not infringed any copyright laws. Rather they are bringing a smile to customers who, instead of buying bags, can revel in some fake Gucci carbs.

With the exodus of global brands and retailers from Ikea to Levi's, the United States and European Union were the first to impose export restrictions, with many fashion companies withdrawing voluntarily or temporarily shuttering Russian operations. Some others, like Zara parent Inditex, have sold their entities to local companies, continuing to make products available under new labels and less direct sales channels.