Emilio Pucci: still no new designer, but a great pop up exhibition
Emilio Pucci unveiled an elegant new, four-day pop up – exhibition that is, and not store – inside its historic palazzo in central Florence in Wednesday as part of Pitti 94.
Though most of the chatter in the courtyard was 'who would the house name as its new creative director?' Pucci has been without someone at the design helm since Massimo Giorgetti of MGSM fame quit the house in April 2017. By most measures, a remarkably long hiatus for a global luxury brand without a creative director.
House president Laudomia Pucci indicated that Pucci’s next women’s ready-to-wear collection – like its last two – will be created by an in-house design team and presented during the Italian catwalk season in Milan in September.
Inside the Pucci palazzo courtyard, the favored pick among assorted editors, bloggers and fashion cognoscenti was universally Richard Quinn, the printmaker extraordinaire and star of last spring’s London Fashion Week, whose show was attended by Queen Elizabeth II.
Asked who might eventually be taking the design reins, Laudomia Pucci replied, “Oh, you had better ask Sidney,” referring to Sidney Toledano, the recently appointed Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group. This consists of LVMH’s “smaller” brands: Céline, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs and Emilio Pucci. Meaning that Toledano, since February, is effectively Laudomia’s boss.
Toledano, who had visited the exhibition, had already left for Madrid to call on Loewe. However, when reached by phone, Toledano dismissed the speculation: “Richard Quinn is definitely a very talented designer. But we have not been in contact about Pucci. Now my plane is about to take off.”
The pop up, though, was certainly impressive. Named Bonaveri, A Fan of Pucci, after the famous Italian stockman brand, it featured a series of leggy, elongated models – one was six meters high - inside the courtyard of Palazzo Pucci. All of them wearing the wavy Vivara pattern.
“This pop-up about celebrating the codes of the brand, our 70 years of history and Vivara is our most famous print,” explained Laudomia.
Upstairs, the installation was centered upon the Bonaveri stockmen, two score of them – customized in velvet - perched on chairs like editors and rich clients attending a runway show.
“You may not remember but my father once did a pearl bikini, which is why we have this,” said Laudomia pointing to a Pucci mannequin covered in pearls inside a giant pink seashell in the Sala Bianca. “Well, the Birth of Venus did come from Florence,” laughed Laudomia, referring to Botticelli’s masterpiece, after posing for a photo with blond Italian pop singer and blogger Roberta Ruiu on a red carpet. “But as it’s Pucci it’s in turquoise,” quipped Laudomia, before taking Florence vice mayor Cristina Giachi on a tour.
“What does Pucci stand for? Pucci is Florence’s identity. It’s that simple,” smiled Giachi.
Underneath storied frescoes in the soaring palazzo, the focus is on the house’s historic accessories – straw hats, printed turbans, quirky sunglasses or jeweled clutches.
The presentation also highlights Pucci's long-term hook-up with international students, who work in Florence with Pucci for one year, providing ideas and input into the brand.
“We provide a heritage training for Pucci. That’s why we put a 1957 hat together with a velvet bag from 1990s. It’s that mix we want to explore,” explained Ann-Marie Voina, a Swedish-born graduate of Central St Martin’s, who has spent a year with Pucci, and was recently handed a full-time contract.
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