“For me, shopping isn’t simply about buying things. It’s about establishing a connection with [customers], entering into a relationship,” says Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. This statement might sound cheesy to some folks, but it’s got us thinking about how others are similarly calling for people to shift away from a purely transactional mindset when it comes to consumption.
This train of thought has now manifested in Gucci Vault – the Italian house’s newly launched online store that hawks a rather unexpected and experimental mix of goods. For one, as you might have seen all over Instagram the past week, Gucci has brought on a whole host of emerging designers that span the globe and will be stocking their works at the Vault.
Chinese darling Rui Zhou’s signature clingy knits will be part of the offerings at Gucci Vault.
It’s an impressive list: Chinese darlings Rui Zhou and Yueqi Qi, as well as Collina Strada (she who designed the giant horse head worn by Kim Petras to the Met Gala), Stefan Cooke, Ahluwalia, Shanel Campbell, Cormio, Charles de Vilmorin, Jordan Luca, Rave Review, Gui Rosa, Bianca Saunders and Boramy Viguier.
Sitting alongside these offerings from the new designers are a blast from the past: Michele has also selected a range of vintage Gucci pieces ranging from old bamboo-handle bags (painstakingly restored to the highest standard, says the brand) to eclectic tableware. Each vintage piece also comes numbered and will be delivered in its own unique “made-to-measure” packaging.
A vintage Gucci top-handle bag that’s been restored by the brand’s specialists, available at Gucci Vault.
The fact that an industry behemoth like Gucci is taking on and supporting young designers (and not through the typical “collaboration” route) but to be actually stocking their original designs is a refreshing move. While the chatter now is all about “collaborating” with fellow luxury competitors, this striking move by Gucci feels like a genuine step towards breaking traditional conventions within the fashion system. Since Alessandro Michele took over the helm at the brand, they’ve been leading not only in sales but also in terms of thoughtful, industry-changing initiatives, such as going carbon neutral two years ago.
Nor will Gucci Vault be a one-time-only project, says the brand. Each “edition” – to be updated throughout the year – will see new objects, and presumably other emerging designers, released on the website.
“In my mind, I always had the idea to create a place in constant evolution where ‘impossible’ conversations between objects from different origins, creators, and eras could take place: central figures in a dialogue between past and present, able to spark future inspiration,” says Michele of the inspiration for Gucci Vault.
Peruse below a selection of pieces – both vintage Gucci and from the list of emerging designers – you can expect at Gucci Vault.
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