I Gucci. You Gucci. He, she, we… Gucci
By Alyssa Davanzo (Palazzo Rucellai – University of Connecticut)
I have never owned a Gucci bag, let alone understood why people would drop hundreds of dollars to invest in one. It has been over a month now since I arrived in Florence, and here I am, studying and sipping cappuccino in the Gucci Museum Café. Questioning how the stars aligned to lead me here, I have realized that I am the same girl from Connecticut suburbia, but with a different outlook on one of the largest fashion powerhouses on the globe.
The Gucci Museum has pleasantly surprised me with its unique fusion of sophistication and coziness. There are not many places that can combine high fashion with sincere employees and great coffee, but Gucci does, and does it well.
The Museum functions as a historical timeline of Guccio Gucci’s artistic growth and fine craftsmanship, emphasizing his fascination with elegance.
Products of immaculate quality are presented under spotlights in each room. Seeming almost predictable at first, the ground floor of the museum displays Gucci’s immediately identifiable bags with his symbolic green-red-green webs. The foreseen vanishes as visitors round the corner and are loudly greeted by a lavish 1979 Gucci Cadillac Seville. This exhibit satisfies the visual appetites of males and females alike.
A stand-out room dedicated to the story behind the Gucci’s famed design of Flora gives the pattern new meaning. Nearly 50 years ago, Gucci asked renowned illustrator Vittorio Accornero to create the most beautiful floral scarf for Princess Grace, who in 1966 visited Gucci’s Milan Via Montenapoleone store. The hypnotizing illustration of flowers from the four seasons, berries, butterflies, and dragonflies is timeless, appearing on suits, accessories, and fine chinaware to this day.
The theme most apparent throughout the museum is Gucci’s view of a polished and fulfilling lifestyle. The museum proves that there is much more to the brand than the handbags, evening wear and perfumes that are ever-present in fashion media. Poker chips, picnic sets, surf boards, and an electric guitar branded with the classic double ‘GG’ reflect Gucci’s dedication to the leisure and recreational activities of his clients.
From now until June 9, the museum will host its third contemporary art exposition featuring works by American photographer and film director, Cindy Sherman. Organized by Francois Pinault and curated by Francesca Amfitheatrof, Cindy Sherman: Early Works is a creatively transformative demonstration of the human spirit. Three bodies of her work that appear in the Gucci Museum are Murder Mystery (1976), Bus Riders (1976), and Doll Clothes (1975). In Bus Riders, Sherman uses photography as an art form, altering her own appearance in each picture to portray several different characters. She represents all walks of life, posing as a homeless man in one frame, a middle-class elderly woman in the next. Sherman’s art speaks. This experience should not be missed out on.
Following my tour through the museum, I predicted my experience in the Gucci Museum Café to be high priced and somewhat intimidating. I could not have been more incorrect. The café, located beyond the museum gift shop, offers customers two types of dining options: a room specifically for eating, and a more casual study lounge with long wooden tables, newspapers and power outlets. I ordered a coffee and chose to sit in the second room. Though there is a cover charge, the employees at the bar and in the café are pleasant and allow students to study for as long as they please. To complement my drink, I was given a plate of two complimentary gourmet cookies. Three hours—and euros—later, I walked out of the café feeling classily productive. I would say that Gucci has begun to grow on me.
While walking through the exhibit, my guide explained how people purchase Gucci products primarily because of the brand’s notoriety for ever-lasting quality and tradition. Spending a day in the Gucci Museum has verified the reason behind the designer’s hyped reputation. Gucci represents a life filled with grace and bliss, one that many of us are striving for. Who knows, maybe one day I will be one of those girls walking down the street with the “GG.”