London - Gucci has turned seduction into an art form and its newly opened Gucci Garden, which opened its doors in Florence on Tuesday during Pitti Uomo, underlines the Italian luxury label's skills. The new concept, which includes haute couture in addition to art, haute cuisine and cinematography was designed by Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele.
Located within the ancient Palazzo della Mercanzia, Gucci Garden is home to an exhibition area, a bazaar-inspired boutique, a cinema room as well as a restaurant, named Gucci Osteria. The concept aims to explore the fashion house’s ‘electric creativity’ by offering visitors the chance to explore a curated range of archival pieces as well as more recent items, memorabilia, and contemporary art. Based on the format of a conventional museum, Michele aimed to reimagine it as a living, collaborative and creative space which shares the ever-evolving aesthetic of Gucci.
Gucci launches new concept during Pitti Uomo: Gucci Garden
“The garden is real, but it belongs above all to the mind, populated with plants and animals: like the snake, which slips in everywhere, and in a sense, symbolises a perpetual beginning and a perpetual return,” said Michele on the concept. Spanning two floors, the Gucci Garden Galleria features apparel, video installations, artworks, documents and artefacts from the luxury fashion house, organised by theme. Michele worked alongside curator and critic Maria Luisa Frisa, head of the BA course in Fashion Design and Multimedia Arts at Luav University in Venice to create the Galleria displays.
“We decided to make the space a laboratory where you have all the elements with which to creatively experiment,” she said. “In the rooms entitled De Rerum Natura, for example, we see Gucci’s passion for flora and fauna expressed through vintage and current garments, silver animal statuettes made by the firm in the Fifties and original artwork by Vittorio Accornero, who was commissioned to create the Gucci Flora print in 1966.” All Gucci designers work is represented in the Galleria. “The past is very much part of the present at Gucci, which is perfectly in keeping with Alessandro’s idea of the brand, and indeed his attitude to Florence, Gucci’s home, which he sees as a city where history is still vibrantly alive.”
Gucci also invited three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura to open a 50-seat restaurant, Gucci Osteria, on the ground floor of Gucci Garden. Bottura created an entirely new menu of high-end dishes for the restaurant, which was influenced by his travels. “Travelling the world, our kitchen interacts with everything we see, hear and taste,” said Bottura. “With eyes wide open, we look for the unexpected and next éclat.’ The menu will include iconic Italian dishes as well as conceptual twists on classics for an all-day dining experience. The restaurant is a reminder that Florence has always been a centre of cultural exchange, particularly during the Renaissance.”
In addition to the restaurant, the ground floor is also home to a bazaar-like retail area spread across two rooms. The space features products exclusively designed for the Gucci Garden, which will not be sold in any other Gucci stores. Exclusive items to the concept include shoes and bags crafted from special materials, brocade skirts and coats, as well as silk amber jackets that feature Gucci Garden Gothic script. Some of the items feature the dedicated Gucci Garden logo, as new symbols, such as a new eye design and bat. Items from the Gucci Decor collection are also for sale in Gucci Garden, as well as a selection of books and magazines.
Tickets for the Gucci Garden Galleria are 8 euros and half the ticket price is set to be donated to support restoration projects throughout the city of Florence. Prices for dishes at Gucci Osteria range from 20 to 30 euros.
Photos: Gucci Garden, courtesy of Gucci