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MILAN — If wearing Gucci just isn’t enough Tom Ford in your life, now double-G’s can cover your floors and walls.
This story first appeared in the June 16, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Gucci, like several other designer labels, is seeking to capitalize on its luxury image by introducing a limited number of home items, including furniture, wallpaper and carpets, as well as bed linens, blankets and bath towels. The products hit Gucci stores around the world in July.
Fashion labels such as Versace, Missoni, Etro and Ralph Lauren have all expanded into the home arena, while Pucci, Paul Smith and Hedi Slimane have teamed up with Italian firm Cappellini to craft furnishings in their signature styles. Giorgio Armani also has made a large push into the home, even opening stores dedicated to his Armani Casa line.
Gucci has already dabbled in items for the home with a small number of vases, pitchers, ashtrays, cutlery, glasses and pillows, but a spokeswoman said the company wanted to round out the offering.
“This new line of select home design objects further strengthens and complements Gucci’s presence in the worldwide luxury market,” she said.
Neither Ford nor Gucci chief executive officer Domenico De Sole was available for further comment.
Gucci said it drew on its “distinctive design vocabulary” for the collection. Dark browns and blacks predominate, as do teak wood and bronzed brass details. Key pieces include a chaise lounge made of woven strips of ebony leather on a rectangular teak frame, cube-shaped side lamps and pony or lapin carpets edged with napa calfskin or cashmere borders. A new, rounded GG motif or the classic double-G print adorn cotton sheets and bath towels.
Prices range from $175 for a pressed leather cigarette box to $13,000 for a Nordic wolf blanket, a spokesman said. A crystal lamp will retail for $1,950; the chaise lounge for $9,740, leather chair for $4,230, ebony leather-topped coffee table for $4,745 and ottoman for $1,860.
Sagra Maceira de Rosen, a luxury goods analyst with J.P. Morgan in London, said there are a lot of growth opportunities for Gucci in the booming design furniture market but it all comes down to product choice.
“I’m a little bit of two minds about this. I have to see the product to see if it fits but I’m not sure about the elasticity of the brand in that sense,” she said. “If it’s something that fits in with Gucci’s expertise, like leather, that’s one thing. Monogrammed wallpaper is a different story.”
Synergies between the worlds of fashion and home design have grown stronger over the years but there is still plenty of room for further growth in the area, noted Morgan Stanley analyst Claire Kent.
“Home is a category that is still under-exploited by luxury companies. Some brands — like Armani and Polo Ralph Lauren and, more recently, Burberry — have addressed this area, but it is still underdeveloped by many others,” Kent wrote in a report earlier this year.
“We believe that the mood of the next few years is more likely to make consumers turn inwards, as a result of an austerity drive as well as a fear of terrorism,” wrote Kent. “Such a tendency would probably help the home area relative to other luxury categories such as watches, leather goods or ready-to-wear.”