Should Gucci Depend Less On Its Designers?

Milan — On Friday, Gucci opened Milan Fashion Week with its first solo menswear show in three years, announced as part of a plan to rekindle the brand’s rapid growth. The show, which also marked Gucci’s first outing since the departure of designer Alessandro Michele in November, turned out to be a low-key, transitional affair.

Signed by Gucci’s studio team, the collection bore Michele’s imprint. His quirky, gender-fluid touches were alive in androgynous ensembles, like dance his rehearsal leggings paired with ankle his booties. But most of the clothes have been stripped of the maximalist embellishments that defined the designer’s tenure, replaced by the elegant, but loose, oversized tailoring that would have been seen in many Italian brands. I was. Tom he reminds me of Ford.

“The timing of the collection represents a moment of contemplation, reaction and reorganization,” Gucci said in a statement, urging the Maison to “explore the idea of ​​improvisation as an aesthetic.”

Vogue runway critic Luke Leach wrote after leaving the showspace that “the crowd-designed collection… lacked overall coherence.” .

Of course, fashion groups have a long history of slashing runway budgets between designer tenures, saving financial muscle for the brand’s next chapter.Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet said, “You can’t blame them for being in transition.” “It makes sense that they would rather push a collection by the studio of a designer who is no longer there, and then push it to the next person.”

Still, there are multiple ways to manage the transition, and Gucci’s strategy stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by rival Louis Vuitton. Flagship LVMH pays tribute to the late designer with an expansive collection full of couture-level craftsmanship, elaborate sets and performances by music stars with the biggest and most memorable menswear outing ever. have invested in Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and rapper Kendrick Lamar. Our next studio-signature menswear outing in Paris next week utilizes guest designer KidSuper to keep us top stylist and set designer.

Vuitton also maintains buzz with major designer-independent marketing efforts, such as the latest chapter of its collaboration with artist Yayoi Kusama. Last year we were able to achieve record sales of over €20 billion.

Gucci, of course, is a different brand, with a different history and set of circumstances. After his death, Abloh’s products were hotter than ever, but consumer excitement about Michele’s aesthetic has cooled in recent seasons. There is also

In contrast to rivals such as Vuitton and Hermès, whose business is driven by accessories that carry over from season to season, Gucci is more exposed to ready-to-wear and footwear, with about half of its revenue coming from seasonal products. is producing. Gucci’s creative director has historically exercised a high level of control over not only the product, but also the brand’s marketing his message and retail concept.

“Gucci’s DNA has stuck in the minds of consumers as a brand that makes strong fashion statements,” said Chauvet. Done well, a fashion-driven approach can fuel explosive growth. But over-reliance on a particular designer’s vision can be destabilizing, especially for a company of the size of Gucci.

Gucci owner Kering told investors it plans to further develop its timeless and iconic side alongside its seasonal fashion output. reach far beyond the hardcore fashion fan. And the surge in demand for classic items like Chanel’s Flap His bag and Hermès Birkin since the pandemic shows that there are plenty of customers who value consistency as much as novelty. A more stable, less designer-dependent strategy could protect Gucci from another boom-and-bust cycle.

But realizing this ambition didn’t happen overnight, and now the brand is urgently looking for a new designer. hopes to announce a new creative director. But the enduring popularity of Michele’s aesthetic among many Gucci enthusiasts makes him a difficult act to follow, and even if the group were able to quickly identify new creative leadership, new products would be on the horizon. It may take several months before it hits the shelves.

Meanwhile, Gucci appears to be dimming the lights ahead of what it expects to be the next creative ‘big bang’.

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