Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The new Gucci

The Asian Wall Street Journal is devoting its Column One today, Wednesday, to the new Gucci, the company led by ice cream manager Robert Polet since the departure of Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole.
The highly interesting report written by Alessandra Galoni mentions the following new trends at the House of Gucci: new items will have to move faster, more products will carry a logo, the product range will be expanded, and the public will have a greater say in the range of products, and a number of older styles and logos will be resurrected.
My first reaction to this, that it could pose a threat to the brand's standing, in other words damage its exclusivity, and send it at least some way down the path Pierre Cardin took a long time ago. "Absolutely stupid," Polet tells the reporter, who must have had the same reaction I had. The report also says he wants to launch Gucci ice buckets, clogs and sneakers. If that's not taking the brand far and wide, I don't know what is.
Less threatening is his plan to shorten the time it takes for Gucci products to reach the stores. Polet apparently compared Gucci's five-times-a-year collection change with Spanish retail group Zara, highly successful in Europe thanks to its frequent updating.
As to letting the public having a greater say, Polet has enrolled consultants to organize focus groups.
Frida Giannini's promotion from accessories designer to women's designer is directly related to another change at the new Gucci, the relaunching of old ideas: the return of the Flora pattern, the Gucci crest coat of armor, the horse-bit symbol. By the way - not mentioned in the Journal report, but in Taiwan magazine Brands - the horse bit features prominently in Gucci's newest series of bags, known as La Pelle Guccissima.
As I said, I'm rather skeptical about some of the plans mentioned above, and I fear they really could mean a cheapening of the brand, but let's give Robert Polet a chance to prove that yes, I am absolutely stupid.


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