New creative director raises Gucci’s profile

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New creative director raises Gucci’s profile


Gucci’s radical decision to appoint Frida Giannini as the sole creative director of the brand in February made international headlines, and less than six months later, the 33-year-old director, a former assistant to Tom Ford, has shown her design forte through an increase in sales. In Korea, her collection has received a positive response from fashionable women over the past months. “Korean consumers seem to love the more feminine yet modern and wearable clothes she designed. We have had the same merchandiser, so it must be Giannini,” said William Yoon, who heads Gucci Group Korea.
In April, PPP, French owner of the Gucci Group, announced that sales of Gucci had risen 17.7 percent to 508,300,000 euros (about $500 million). The Asia-Pacific region saw a 28.5 percent growth in sales. A satisfied Mr. Yoon was too busy to attend the Gucci men’s collection in Milan as he is preparing to open a Gucci store in Gwangju, in the southwest of Korea, to join Gucci’s two successful stores in Daegu and Busan, in Korea’s southeast.
Aiming to reach every locale of South Korea with the genuine double G logo, the Korean-American boss is tackling the pinnacle of Korea’s fashion capital. To introduce Gucci’s Limited Edition handbags commemorating the brand’s 85th anniversary, on the evening of June 22, Gucci Korea invited 70 journalists and celebrities to a trunk show followed by a gala dinner at Aston House, the exclusive private function house inside the Sheraton Walkerhill hotel in eastern Seoul.
For one day at least, Aston House couldn’t have been more fashionable ― with the golden double-G emblem, the size of a manhole, embellishing a cream carpet that stretched from the east to west wings, over which six local models presented 24 outfits from the Milan show. The garden, with a panoramic view of the capital, had Gucci-logo beams competing with the sunset.
Under crystal chandeliers in the spacious showroom were displayed the renewed heritage bags with a “retro-classic-meets-modernity” theme. Gucci’s vintage design motifs, such as red-and-green grosgrain ribbons and the interlocking G’s, were mounted on a classic hobo bag shape, but the resulting combination was refreshingly new, modern and attractive. Ms. Giannini saved and stylized, with flair, the Italian brand’s history in an equestrian look, which goes back to 1921 when the Gucci family store was first opened in Via Vigna Nuova, Rome. Bridles were revived in the form of a lively print on a series of brown-toned hobo bags; the signature horsebit decoration, in gold- or silver-tone metal, became sleek on weekend bags edged with top-quality lambskin or Ayer snakeskin, as well as colorful velvet bags made with graphic “Tartan web.”

Bathed in luxury a la Korea, models strutted like 1980s Bond Girls who, with long iron-flat hair, lean silhouettes and severe fashion attitude, were strangely reminiscent of Ms. Giannini. Fashion attitude was at its zenith in an outfit of a chic fox fur-trimmed blouson and tight skirt in Tartan web above towering knee-high boots.
From a glittering lurex knit top matched with skinny pants through a gorgeous black-and-white fur coat to extremely sexy low-cut evening gowns, the look of the latest collection was a streamlined softness that a modern, stylish ― and financially successful ― woman could wear to her office, on a weekend trip or on the red carpet.
A sumptuous and formal nine-course dinner, accessorized with white candles and fresh orchids, and unlimited 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape and Moet & Chandon on a fine summer evening only added a sense of haute couture luxury to the pleasure of being at Aston House, where Korea’s richest and the most famous get married and party afterwards.

by Ines Cho
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