Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gucci Invents its Future

About a year ago, I was invited by Robert Polet, CEO of Gucci Group, to talk to his CEO's at a conference at the Villa d’Este in Lake Como (the Villa d’Este is a Lovemark. Give it a go.)

An inspirational leader, Robert has freed his Creative Directors to lead the development of their brands, and to drive the business side of life, he has also partnered them with CEOs. We practice exactly the same philosophy at Saatchi, teaming CEO and Creative Director at the top (e.g. Bob Isherwood and I) throughout all our offices. I believe it’s a great and defining system.

Robert’s new approach will be put to the test this year on lead brand Gucci. Frida Giannini has just taken over as the new Head of Design. She’s dumping the G-spot made famous by Tom Ford, and taking Gucci back to its Italian roots. While Tom Ford trailed us into the nightclubs of New York and L.A., Frida and her CEO partner, Mark Lee, are taking Gucci back to the streets of Rome and onto the beaches of Capri. They are going for humor, eccentricity, irony and nonchalance. So it’s good-bye Paris Hilton and welcome back Sophia Loren. Which reminds me, I just bought an iconic image of Sophia Loren in her prime wearing a very tight corset. It is by NY artist Daniel Dens. Emblazoned over the full length image are the immortal words, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti".

So Giannini is taking Gucci from sexy back to sensual. I can’t wait to see the new range which will be full of flowers, colored stripes, stars and fishes. Joyful and lots of fun.

Gucci is amongst the top 5 most valuable luxury brands in the world, and the most valuable Italian luxury brand. The Wall Street Journal recently named Giannini as one of its 50 Women to Watch. You can count on the fact that men everywhere in the world will be doing just that.


Susan956 said...

Fashion is cyclic.

Love the 1940's retro glamour - Hepburn trousers and feather prints - with a soupcant of the contemporary.

I deplore runway fashion that is totally unwearable and unrealistic.

We're loving - aren't we? - the Italian refusal to use 'skinny' models.

I'm a fashion tragedy as I wear runners, trackies and simple shirts most of the time however, one can admire a good, classically elegant design. I enjoy fashion architecture when it doesn't pretend to be street wear and is bold about it's role as purely representing a body building in fabric.

Susan956 said...

I'd be interested to know Kevin, how each of the CEO/Creative Director pairings invite critique/critical analysis. Or, my favourite term phrase, devil's advocacy.

From my observation, businesses tend to gauge success on particularly quantitative style criterion - indexing, volume and turn-over, repeat business and so on.

Whilst I understand these, I'm questioning more the opening up of practice and perspective from time to time to an entirely different form of devil's advocacy - qualitative based and potentially from people external to - tho sympathetic with, the business genre.

Who sits with you and Bob or you and then Bob :) from time to time and challenges you on what you do and how you do it? Pulls you outside your field and leads you to look back in?

Susan956 said...

Folks, I've just noticed that Kevin has taken the time and trouble to offer some comments/responses to posts in previous threads. I for one am appreciative he's done that and I'm sure many of you will be also.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

It's great to see Gucci venture back to the streets of Rome, returning its emphasis on elegance that's associated with these luxury brands. Though with Tom Ford at the helm of the creative direction, a new wave of consumers were targeted and introduced to the brand.

I think the pairing of the CEO with the ECD is a very effective model, as it encompasses the best of both worlds. That way, the collaboration of the two individuals can be developed efficiently.

Susan, in terms of devil's advocacy, I think that the CEO/ECD pairings are, as mentioned above, very efficient. The reason for my thoughts is that the ECD's creative direction can be controlled by the CEO's emphasis on business. I think for the same reason the advertising industry has embraced the pairing of the copywriter with the art director. Although this may be in the same aspect (creative), the point is that the two people play their strengths off each other, and they both help each other gauge their weaknesses.

So in the case of the ECD/CEO, the CEO picks up where the ECD is less experienced and vice versa.

Susan956 said...

Piotr, I take your point. I taught for some years and I could walk in and teach just about anything without too much thought. However, if I picked up debate on say engineering, or architecture, or how to make a pair of shoes from hemp cord, I would look back and think of new approaches, new topics et al. Doesn't mean you throw away your essential skill base and knowledge, simply that you infuse this with new insights. You know I'm a believer in cross discipline (or at least a certain level of the same).

I am attracted to the 'muse' conceptual also.

It may well be that the constant diversity of their life experience is adequate. I know I directly seek this in other ways (uses hands to indicate the KRConnect blog as an example) because of my life positioning.

Thanks for the response Piotr.

CONSUL said...

Fashion is or should be elegancy.


Sensual IS.

So I`m very glad there is one way to forget about both icons of arrogancy and pretentiousness, Paris Hilton and "lady" Victoria Beckham: even if the monkey dresses in silk (Gucci), it is still a monkey. ...

By the way, very glad Kevin involves himself commenting the comments..I really appreciate and enjoy it.


Susan956 said...

Consul.. Potential phrasings are possible e.g.

Sensual IS 'the' sexy.

You know, I think we need shifts and changes and challenges to conceptions. I love the Great Gatsby look in men's trousers for example however, if I saw them all the time, year in, year out, I would probably stop appreciating them as such. It's contrast that draws the mind back to considering and re-evaluating and perhaps - re-valuing.

The whole Paris Hilton et al thing is just trash press. I hate to sound tacky but these magazines are what my family has in the bathroom. Paris may be visible but she is not a fashion setter per se. She has no defining look in terms of fashion whereas when you think Loren, not only do you see her glorious face and eyes but you can vision her clothing. Same with Hepburn. Same with Lamour (who else made the sarong what it became in the western world) :)

And Loren also equates LOVE with a capital 'L'. Her relationship and LOVE for Ponti I believe offered several messages about adoration and love that exists counter to what may be predicted; that exists beneath surface.

the paper bicycle; Peter Scarks said...

Gucci are making the move that most brands that want to be lovemarks will have to make. They are moving away from the cult of personality and setting free the revolution that exists throughout their organization. I for one look forward to seeing a Gucci that leads rather than follows the whims of one man. Let one thousand flowers bloom again.