On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Footwear News will host its 2016 Achievement Awards in New York, honoring the best and brightest in the industry, including Brand of the Year winner Gucci. Read on to learn more about their accomplishments.
With fresh leadership at its helm — namely creative director Alessandro Michele and president-CEO Marco Bizzarri — Gucci, the crown jewel of the Kering Group family, has experienced not only financial success but new industry recognition and a welcome return to the spotlight.
According to Bizzarri, the revitalization of the brand has been underway for more than a year. “Our process of reinvention began in early 2015 and is now yielding important results,” he said. “The new image of Gucci is more in line with the contemporary world of today, more relevant, with a greater desirability for luxury consumers who love fashion and who love the brand.”
The spring ’17 footwear collection was one clear example, shining with reimagined looks that evoked nostalgia but were infused with a modern sensibility.
“At Gucci today, we are constantly challenging ourselves to do things differently, questioning the status quo and taking risks within the framework of a learning organization, based on a culture of empowerment, respect and inclusivity,” said Bizzarri.
The efforts are yielding results for parent company Kering, which derives nearly two-thirds of its profit from Gucci and saw an 11.3 percent rise in overall sales in Q3.
Michele’s daring design vision is one of the greatest contributors to Gucci’s new image. The Rome native was plucked from Gucci’s design ranks last year, when Bizzarri named him to succeed longtime creative chief Frida Giannini. It was one of the most surprising — and ultimately successful — design appointments of recent years.
In his first seasons for the house, the 44-year-old has introduced a pioneering approach that he describes as being somewhat eclectic. “Inspiration is in everything,” Michele told FN. “What I have found absolutely inspiring is the idea to cancel the limits. To find beauty in things you don’t like at first sight is really inspiring.”
And he is not afraid to celebrate contradictions. “I like to mix different languages, because this is my way of describing beauty and because this is also the way the contemporary world describes beauty,” Michele said. “Fashion is made of different ingredients; it is an aesthetic chemistry.” Retailers and consumers have fully embraced the designer’s avant-garde creations.
In particular, his Princetown backless fur loafer has become a new signature look for Gucci, having been spotted on fashion tastemakers such as Alexa Chung and Kendall Jenner.
On the red carpet, the brand’s towering platform pumps have re-emerged as a favorite among A-listers. “The shoes are playful, yet still practical. They are ornamented like jewelry,” said celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger, who dressed Lupita Nyong’o for the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, in one of Michele’s first gowns. “The color and sense of fantasy is what has me so excited.”
For Bizzarri and his team, however, their purpose is simple. “At the heart of this success is our commitment to authenticity,” said the CEO. “That is clearly appreciated by our customers.”