Visit to the Gucci Museo in Florence, Italy
Once upon a rags-to-riches experience, Guccio Gucci built a leatherworking business and transformed it into an empire with paramount recognition and multi-million dollar earnings. A trademark of Italian luxury, Gucci and its interlocking G's--the initials of its founder--reached a milestone anniversary in 2011. To commemorate 90 years of Italian pride, the Gucci Museo was established in Piazza Della Signora in Florence, both as a tribute to Gucci and as a means of interacting with the public. Emphasizing Gucci's philosophy of "Forever Now," the exhibit space articulates the history and evolution of the Gucci brand and its forté of "re-interpreting the creativity of the past as inspiration for future enterprise" [source: Museum brochure]. Though my closet does not contain Gucci, visiting the museum was a definite highlight of my trip to Italy (second, behind gelato and other consumables). Keep reading for more...
Eveningwear made and worn for notable names
Like many familiar fashion houses, Gucci has progressed various logo treatments, products and iconic silhouettes, and caters to both red carpet and pret-a-porter clientele. Despite growing into a global conglomerate of worldwide retailers with local staff who are fairly removed from the original atelier, the passion and craftsmanship of Guccio's vision remain strong. Even with the variety of treatments, the double G logo developed in the 1960s along with Gucci's timeless aesthetic carries weight across generations.
Handbags in the bamboo room; it takes 13 hours for a craftsman to complete one bamboo handle!
Spread over 3 floors, each exhibit section highlights notable accomplishments. Examples include "travel," which depicts Gucci's conception of Gucci, while working as a lift-boy in London's Savoy hotel and the "bamboo room" displaying various bags from the collection (along with a description on the grueling 13-hour process required to perfect their handles). A special exhibit gallery houses changing exhibits, with the current theme being "The Language of Flowers." The overall space, as typical of Gucci products, has been expertly crafted and gives guests an intimate view into Gucci's legacy.
Gucci bags over the years...
Aside from the clothes and bags typically associated with the Gucci brand, visitors are privy to the porcelains, collaborative items and other miscellany produced over 9 decades. Setting up shop in 1921 Florence, Gucci stocked his first boutique with lifestyle accessories ranging from wooden board games to silver and golf clubs. Since then, handbags and accessories have become a mainstay at Gucci, though other--more experimental--items have occasionally crept into the product mix. Driving around Italy, I've spotted many a 'Gucci Edition' Fiat!
Beyond fashion and just as fashionable!
On the way out, visitors can stop for a latte or light lunch at the Gucci café (located right inside the entrance) and take in the "library" room with a large communal table, the delicious treats and the logo shaped sugar cubes; the expertly executed attention to detail is impeccable! If you plan to visit to Firenze, the museo Gucci is worth a walk-through. Museum admission costs 7 euro and 50% of the proceeds support local art preservation. While not a logo-lover, being in Italy and seeing the footprint of Gucci in the community (i.e. citizen pride or elegant facilities fostering shared spaces) bolsters my respect for the brand.
Espresso, Tiramisu, Panna Cotta... Delicious!