- Alessandro Michele, designer en chef Gucci
golden shooting star, a purple planet Saturn, a rainbow- coloured lunar phase, bees on a black dial, a joyful constellation that contrasts sharply with the formal austerity typical of the big luxury brands...
The new G-Timeless by Gucci is a good illustration of the influence of its new designer-in-chief Alessandro Michele, who is unusual in making his models wear not only clothes but also watches and jewellery on the catwalk. He evidently has a taste for watches; but this is part and parcel of the world that the artist is now creating for all the lines of this Italian fashion house, which is owned by the Kering Group. His is an off-beat style that is completely repositioning the brand in a bid to charm the millennials.
You get the impression that Gucci watches are undergoing a revival in 2017 with a revamped, somewhat provocative image...
In charge of design across the entire Gucci range, Alessandro Michele has dramatically lowered the average age of its customers since arriving in early 2015. This is very young-looking design: today you can legitimately say that Gucci is the luxury fashion brand of the millennials.
But remember that Gucci was the first fashion brand to move
into watches in 1972, with Severin Wunderman. Naturally
we want to take back the lead in the young, fashion watchmaking
segment while not changing the average price of the
Basically, I would say that the new Gucci spirit is ‘infecting’ all the other categories of products. That’s due to the fact that there is only one designer for all these categories. It’s a daring move to rejuvenate the brand, but we can see that it has already worked for our fashion business. Now we’re applying it to watches.
Do you view yourself today as an affordable or a luxury brand?
We operate at the entry level, mid-range and high end of the market. But we’re consistent about it. In every case, what we highlight are the brand emblems. We have the capacity to produce fine jewellery and sell expensive products. Let me say it again: this is not a repositioning of price. We have segmented our offering. You’ll find ‘peace & love’ cats rubbing shoulders with fine jewellery! First and foremost, we don’t want to be boring. The process of revamping the collections completely took three years before they came to anything. We had to recreate the dream. 2016 was a year of transformation for all of Gucci. Today, all the planets are aligned.
What about the distribution of your watches?
We’re always wide open to new partnerships outside our own boutiques. We’re interested in multibrand watch retailers and department stores, but also online sales via new concepts such as Mr. Porter. In short, we’re open to all distribution channels.
When do you hope to harvest the fruits of your new strategy?
We’re waiting to see the results for the second half of 2017. The road is already mapped out in the fashion sector, where we saw the impact of repositioning nine months after presenting the collections. Today, the Gucci bee is an emblem that the public recognises.