TOKYO — “Of course I’m ready to party. I’d party any time of the day,” exclaimed an upbeat Robert Polet, chief executive officer of Gucci Group, at the music-driven bash for 800 on Thursday night to celebrate the new Gucci Ginza flagship here.
Actually, everyone was more than eager to let loose — from Frida Giannini to François-Henri Pinault to a pack of Japanese VIPs and fashionistas. Pinault had been on a whirlwind schedule of appointments and interviews, in which he reiterated that PPR is evaluating acquisitions in Italy as long as they are compatible with where the group is now.
“We’re still weak in some areas, but don’t want to manage competitive brands. Our strategy for the luxury brands is internal growth,” he said.
The party was held at the Harumi Boat Terminal, a sprawling warehouse at Tokyo’s port with a breathtaking view of the Rainbow Bridge and the city’s neon-dotted skyline. The space was decorated with pearl gray carpeting and panels, double-G emblazoned video cubes and larger-than-life images of the Gucci-clad likes of Jodie Foster and Marilyn Monroe.
After a cocktail party, guests were whisked off into a room with a central gunmetal silver runway to view the spring 2007 Mod-inspired collection. In the front row next to Polet were Pinault and artist Takashi Murakami.
Mary J. Blige breezed in and performed four hits at the party — “Real Love,” “Be Without You,” “No More Drama” and “Family Affair” — clad in a white Gucci turtleneck and silver-embroidered A-line shift.
“I collect all her albums,” smiled Polet before the performance. “She is an amazing artist with great style, who thinks with her head and sings from within.”
Giannini, who has ended the days leading up to the store opening by dancing the nights away in a black column dress, mused, “I love all her songs because they are very self-descriptive of the life she’s had and her voice is amazing.”
But after a night of post-party recovery, the Gucci team was off to Hong Kong to open a flagship in the Landmark area on Monday. As Mark Lee joked, “It’s the Gucci tour, from Milan to Tokyo to Hong Kong.”
This story first appeared in the November 6, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.