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Follow Frida

I use the title of this post rather tongue-in-cheek - follow friday is a tradition on twitter - where each Friday, you tweet your friends monikers so others you follow you can meet new tweets.

Vogue UK ran a snippet of a story this morning that basically says that Gucci, in response to the current economics, is pulling back on its production of goods, but unlike many brands who are going the lower price route to combat the recession, Gucci will actually focus on
"the higher priced, more iconic items"

Patrizio di Marco, the recently appointed CEO of Gucci, went on to say

"[She] knows how to balance the fashion elements with Gucci's heritage," di Marco told Bloomberg at Gucci's production headquarters near Florence. "[Consumers] want products with substance and good prices. We don't need 75 variations on the same handbag. Two or three are enough."

Hallelujah to that!

I would rather spend 3 times as much on one piece that I will have and love for years and years and will be able to pass down to my as yet unborn & unthought of granddaughter one day, then to cycle my little consumer butt through loads and loads of churned out, mass produced bits that all get binned eventually. Take the highly regarded house of luxury, Hermes, for example. Everything produced by Hermes has been based on this philosophy since its inception. And it has worked to keep them above the waters, even now, and will continue to work if they keep that philosophy steady and true.

Although I have to admit, the more cynical part of me had a bit of a giggle over this "new proclamation" on the"new" direction for Gucci. It seems to me that when Gucci was teetering on the brink of self-destruction from years of endless over-licensing that the powers that be said something remarkably similar when they brought Tom Ford in to turn it around. But that is just cynical me. I completely agree with this "new" philosophy, but believe that it is a reflection of the current times and not necessarily of the house in general. I will take it either way though. BUT you would think that Gucci would have learned their lesson the first time they over licensed the house to the point of extinction.

But I digress

The reality of the most big design houses is that they are now publicly trading companies and the one mandate of taking a company to the market and making it a tradeable stock is to grow that stock. You can sputter design and art at me all you like, but having been involved on the financial side of things for quite some time, you do not take a company public unless you intend to make money. And as soon as you put a company into this position then the game changes. To grow the stock you have to grow the business and to grow the business you have to - well ....sell more.

Selling more equals more stores, more distribution chains and more merchandise for consumers to buy. And that can potentially lead to diffusing your brand to the point of irrelevance & bankruptcy. Its the danger of the game, the risk you take. All while trying to maintain your creative integrity.

Its probably why I have always gravitated towards vintage. Buying vintage bypasses the whims and fancies of the markets and economies. The price of acquiring great pieces might be effected by the economics and current trends but vintage is still vintage and good design rides out economics. I love the idea of having pieces that are special and not just "the it" items of the season (though I will be the first to admit - I am a total hypocrite at this philosophy at times if we are talking shoes - girl has to have some weak spots right?) But at least when you wear vintage (with new shoes) you are pretty much guaranteed to have the only one of its kind whatever the event you attend. That's a philosophy I like

Still, I cannot wait to see what Frida Giannini does with this new design philosophy - if nothing else she will hopefully be producing great vintage for future generations with this new idealism. I know some will read this and perhaps, say that making things more expensive and exclusive is crazy in this market, but I would disagree. There has always been luxury in the world and I personally do not want to live in a world where its gone. The need to go beyond ones current status is part and parcel of what makes our little economic system go round.

I think Frida is a solid force to be reckoned with and is doing an outstanding job with Gucci so far. And I am one of Tom Ford's biggest fans ever, so I do not say that lightly.

Perhaps Mr. di Marco says it best himself

"I don't have to tell Frida to do anything other than to be herself," di Marco said of Giannini. "She's made beautiful products from the beginning."

Designers take note and please
follow Frida

1 comment:

WendyB said...

I couldn't focus on anything you said after noticing her legs in that photo!

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