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FLORENCE — Flocks of celebrity-ogling tourists and locals alike assembled on Monday evening outside the new Gucci Museo, and they weren’t disappointed as guests such as Charlotte Casiraghi, Abbie Cornish, Camilla Belle, Lapo Elkann, Fan Bingbing, Ferruccio and Leonardo Ferragamo, and Laudomia Pucci appeared on the black carpet outside the 14th-century palazzo in Piazza della Signoria, in the heart of Florence.
When asked if she would consider donating one of her own vintage Gucci pieces to the museum, Belle said she “would keep it for a year and then pass it on” — clearly considering the option with reluctance.
This story first appeared in the September 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Gucci creative director Frida Giannini said her first memories of the brand are tied to her family in the Seventies. “My mother’s Flora foulard, or her small trunk,” she reminisced. The designer’s own first Gucci piece was a pair of stiletto pumps “with a superelongated toe back in the Nineties.” Does she still have them? “Of course,” she said, widening her eyes in mock surprise. While not an authentic Seventies item, model and socialite Poppy Delevigne said she was especially fond of “a floppy hat” that harks back to that period. “I adore that Seventies element,” she explained.
In the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio, with its richly decorated barrel vaults and gilt-stuccoed columns, where the cocktail was held later, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of parent company PPR, referred to the opening of the museum and said that he was “happy for the people working at Gucci. They are so talented, and it’s important to show all the brand’s components in one location. It’s a piece of Italy.”
Ferragamo, whose own brand museum stands a few minutes away, praised the arrival of another location dedicated to historic pieces. “Evviva! [hurrah], if we stand united, we are all stronger,” he said. Emilio Pucci, also headquartered in Florence, could be next, as Laudomia Pucci said that within the “Les Journées Particulières” organized by parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Oct. 15 and 16, she is gearing up for a presentation of a small museumlike space at her Granaiolo castle in Tuscany.
During the dinner in the stunning Salone dei Cinquecento on the first floor, Florence mayor Matteo Renzi explained to guests how a team of scientists, in collaboration with the city and the National Geographic Society, is seeking to retrieve a Leonardo da Vinci fresco that could be hidden behind another one in the room by painter Giorgio Vasari.
The evening wrapped up with a performance by Debbie Harry of Blondie, whom Giannini defined as “my iconic artist.” The singer lived up to the billing, opening with “Call Me” and closing with “Heart of Glass.”