MILAN — Gucci is launching a series of initiatives, events, takeovers and activations around the world to mark the arrival of creative director Sabato De Sarno’s Gucci Ancora debut collection in stores.
The celebrations will kick off from the newly renovated Gucci store on 63 Wooster Street in SoHo, where a party will be held Saturday during New York Fashion Week.
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“Located in the beating heart of New York City, the recently renovated Gucci Wooster Street boutique stands as a symbol of our enduring connection with a city that first welcomed Gucci in 1953. Gucci’s inaugural U.S. store was situated on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, and since then, we have established numerous stores across the city,” president and chief executive officer Jean-François Palus told WWD.
The executive underscored that the New York store is among the first to introduce the spring 2024 collection to the U.S.
Palus said the position of the unit “as a landmark within the SoHo neighborhood solidifies our connection to the vibrant spirit of this area, renowned for artistic expression while on the other hand, the renewed store now reinforces the timeless values of Italian beauty and craftsmanship.”
He made a reference to the refurbishment of the Gucci store in Milan’s Via Montenapoleone unveiled in December, which pays tribute to Italian craftsmanship, art and design, saying that the brand’s Wooster boutique “stands as the latest testament to the house’s appreciation for artists and designers through a showcase of modern and contemporary artworks. This unique fusion of contemporary design, fashion and art underscores our commitment to cross-disciplinary exploration within our stores.”
He concluded by shining the light on Gucci’s “unwavering dedication as a brand to perpetually evolving within the dynamic intersections of fashion, art and culture.”
The one-level, 10,000-square-foot Wooster street space, which extends an entire block from Wooster Street to West Broadway, maintains the original tin ceiling, cast-iron columns and exposed brick walls of the 155-year-old building, a former pencil factory. Compared to when the Gucci first opened on the site, in 2018, the renovation brings a much more open and airy feeling to the space, which has an uninterrupted view from one end of store to the other, making it ideal for parties and events. The interiors feature a selection of iconic Italian designs by Cassina, B&B and Minotti.
With the renovation, a fast, two-month process that began last December, the space has been modernized with cement and glass caselines, brush metal shelving, an LED screen, and nine-foot tall glass shelving for shoes. There’s a platformed window display set just past the Wooster Street entrance in De Sarno’s “Rosso Ancora” coloring. The fitting rooms are set behind a lacquer wall in the same Rosso Ancora. There’s ample seating with Italian lime green-colored furniture set on a huge lime green area rug.
Entering from Wooster Street, the women’s collection is to the right, men’s to the left. Sprinkled throughout are products that are exclusive to the store including ready-to-wear, handbags and shoes, and identified by lime green detailing. These include an acid green variation of the Jackie Notte bag.
The Wooster store is one of only three Gucci units that showcases art, along with the London and Milan stores, and features works by American and international artists focusing mainly on video art. Among pieces on display are refined glass sculptures by Larry Bell, Taezoo Park sculptures exploring technology and digital coding, and Lucio Fontana’s painting with punctured holes for a multidimensional, cosmic effect. The exhibits are curated by Truls Blaasmo.
The store continues to be home of the Gucci Wooster Bookstore, curated by Dashwood Books, which was also renovated. The selection of books includes contemporary art and photography tomes including many out-of-print titles.
The bookstore has its own address and dedicated entrance at 375 West Broadway, and in conjunction with the debut of the spring collection, the bookstore will showcase “Gucci Prospettive 1: Milano Ancora,” the inaugural volume in a series of books meant to convey De Sarno’s artistic vision.
As part of the activations, Gucci created a custom Ancora Airstream embellished with Rosso Ancora tulip flower arrangements, which traveled around New York City neighborhoods offering warm beverages.
In addition, Gucci partnered with top New York destinations including Sant Ambroeus, Jean’s and Nine Orchard inviting guests to collect limited-edition Ancora postcards featuring designs from the spring 2024 campaign.
Palus said that these are only part of Gucci’s “global exclusive presentations,” as the brand’s stores worldwide “will feature immersive art installations, live performances, unique animations and bespoke clienteling initiatives.”
An extensive lineup of events in China will tackle the cities of Shanghai (Zhang Yuan), Chengdu (Taikoo Li and SKP), Shenzhen (Shenzhen Bay Mixc) and Beijing (Sanlitun South and SKP) from March 11 to 17 and each location will showcase the spring 2024 collection.
Each city will recreate immersive environments featuring an art exhibition curated by X Zhu-Nowell, the artistic director of RAM (Rockbund Art Museum) and a curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York since 2014.
There will be musical experiences and specially designed resting areas will offer a space to unwind and foster a sense of community.
A new version of the first volume of Gucci Prospettive titled “Gucci Prospettive: Shanghai Ancora,” dedicated to Shanghai, will be showcased within interactive displays. Additionally, in Shanghai, Gucci will take over a district-wide street with buildings’ facades, local shops, cafés and bookstores showing the Rosso Ancora color.
Interactive kiosks and displays will feature the “Gucci Prospettive 1: Milano Ancora” volume. The Prospettive publications will accompany each of Gucci’s collections. Stefano Collicelli Cagol, director of the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato and former curator of the Rome Quadriennale, interpreted the vision for the first chapter, a love letter to Milan, as reported.
In Hong Kong, the K11 Musea Promenade will set the stage for the collection’s presentation along with a display of language artworks again by artist poet and AI researcher Stiles.
During February and March, Gucci Ancora will land in Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo with events opened to the public. Local activations will take place in major cities across Europe, the Americas and South Asia Pacific.
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