MILAN — Gucci is cruising to the Web.
To reach a broader fashion audience, the brand’s creative director, Frida Giannini, has arranged for the runway show of its new cruise collection to be broadcast live worldwide on the Gucci Web site. The show will take place June 14 in New York at The Penthouse at Milk Studios.
But even the Webcast will be invitation-only and restricted to fashion editors, journalists and retailers in Europe and Asia. It will be accessible on Gucci.com via a password. Close-ups of the clothes and detail shots of the accessories will be visible and Giannini will hold a pretaped, postshow interview to explain her design focus for the resort season.
“Cruise may be an American invention but it’s really not a U.S. phenomenon anymore. It’s an important collection worldwide that satisfies different needs,” said Mark Lee, Gucci’s president and chief executive officer.
He added that while it is a cruise or pre-spring collection, it is delivered in the fourth-quarter holiday shopping period of the year, a key time for business.
Lee said Gucci’s apparel sales rose starting with the fourth quarter of last year with the shipment of cruise. “They grew 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005 — they were pretty stagnant until then — and almost 24 percent in the first quarter of this year,” he said.
Last June, Gucci led the way by showing its cruise collection in New York, a route now embraced by Chanel and Dior, which will both show in New York next week.
“We think we were kind of pioneers in terms of taking Frida and the collection to New York for a proper show. Since it was Frida’s first presentation and ready-to-wear collection, we wanted to do something innovative, more than just show clothes on the rack,” said Lee.
This time, though, Giannini is staying in Florence, where she will be adding the last touches to her first men’s wear collection.
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.