Relaunched Pucci makes headway by jettisoning traditional business model
Pucci has found new impetus. After an in-depth reorganisation, the Italian label is starting to reap the rewards of a new strategy, underpinned by ideas that disrupt the standard framework and seasonal rhythm of the luxury industry. A revolution that began in June 2021, when LVMH took full control of the Florentine label, in which it had owned a stake since 2000, and put a new senior executive team at the helm.
The French luxury group’s first move was to put Camille Miceli in charge of style. She joined Pucci in September 2021, and unveiled her first collection in April 2022. In July 2022, Saar Debrouwere, formerly at Icicle, was appointed managing director. Following her appointment, Norman Lemay, who has worked notably at Alaïa, Chloé, Hermès and Stella McCartney, took charge of communication and marketing.
From the outset, the plan was to reconnect with the heritage of the label, founded in 1947 by the marquis Emilio Pucci, focusing on a ‘resort’ approach and a style brimming with zest for life, using lighter, ultra-colourful materials. A market segment in which the label has few competitors, and where it can make its mark both with its summer and beachwear wardrobe and with skiing-themed winter collections, which had been dropped in the past but were relaunched in December via a collaboration with Fusalp. Before opening a first boutique in Capri in 1951, the jet-setting marquis had made a name for himself in the USA thanks to a photo published in 1948 by Harper’s Bazaar, featuring a lady skier on the slopes of the Swiss resort of Zermatt, clad in a trailblazing Pucci jumpsuit.
Miceli’s starting point were the Pucci archives. She unearthed from them the label's most recognisable prints, especially the brightly coloured psychedelic motifs of the 1960s and 70s (like the Marmo, Iride, Fiamme and Pesci patterns), which she re-introduced as her collections’ leitmotifs, in new colourways and variants. Miceli has notably revitalised Pucci’s style by modernising the cuts and silhouettes, and designing an array of items that are easy to wear and match, using cotton, silk, chiffon, jersey, nylon, lace, tulle and terry fabric.
Short dresses and long, flowing tunics and caftans are among the new collection's best-sellers, as is the scarf-top that fits all sizes. This eclectic range, full of little gems, is proving extremely attractive for a younger clientèle, and hasn’t put off the label's aficionados. Genderless items such as trousers, Bermuda shorts, sweatshirts and swimming trunks are a hit also with men. Miceli has broadened the accessories range by introducing amusing handbags and hats, as well as other fun items like pool noodles and inflatable chairs in the Pucci livery. The label is now keen to outfit customers not just for the holidays but for the whole year, as shown by the denim items introduced for the first time this season to complete the wardrobe.
A first refresh led to the label's name being shortened to become simply Pucci, and a new logo, a capital P formed by two intertwined fish, has been adopted, inspired by a label found in the 1953 Capri Sport archives. With this new, crisper brand image, Pucci decided to abandon the traditional industry calendar and the fashion week show format. Miceli initially favoured experiential presentations (in April 2022 in Capri, in December in St. Moritz), and then went on to stage a highly original outdoor show on the banks of the Arno River in Florence, on Thursday May 4. Miceli’s approach is to tap a festive, laid-back mood by creating one-of-a-kind events.
This strategy goes hand in hand with a radical change in Pucci’s commercial strategy. The label has introduced a ‘see now, buy now’ format, making its collections available for sale either on the day of their presentation to the press and public, or at the ideal time to meet customer demand. Consumers are now increasingly making their purchases based on their seasonal needs, and no longer in advance, as they used to in the past. Pucci’s winter collections are commercialised from September to February, with half of the range delivered from September, while summer collections sell between March and August. Part of the collection was for example delivered on the eve of the label’s recent show to the Florence store, which was given a makeover for the event.
Prices remain positioned in the luxury segment, with t-shirts at €290, short jersey dresses at €790, silk caftans from €2,000 to €3,000, and up to €7,500 for an embroidered dress. The label has premiumised its image, to be increasingly perceived as a luxury brand. With this in mind, it has reduced the number of products available, working on the principle of rarity to become more exclusive, and has streamlined its pool of multibrand retailers, halving the number of wholesale clients to 75. Pucci is also concentrating on major cities. The goal is to focus on selective retail distribution, positioning Pucci alongside the most upscale labels.
In terms of monobrand stores, Pucci has so far prioritised the trendiest Mediterranean seaside resorts, such as Saint-Tropez in France, and Portofino and Capri, where it operates a franchised store, in Italy. It recently opened a temporary store in the renowned, uber-chic resort of Forte dei Marmi, on the Tuscan coast, as a way of testing the local market for two years. In total, Pucci currently operates 11 directly owned monobrand stores and six franchised stores, between Italy, London, the USA and Asia. Its first markets remain Europe, North America and the Middle East. The label is also assessing the possibility of opening pop-up stores in leading department stores.
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