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Gucci Increases UNICEF Effort

As Christmas looms, Gucci is once again preparing its UNICEF holiday campaign, this time with a few goodwill tweaks.

MILAN — As Christmas looms, Gucci is once again preparing its UNICEF holiday campaign, this time with a few goodwill tweaks.

First and foremost, Gucci raised its contribution to UNICEF by 5 percent, or 25 percent of revenues from the sale of the special seasonal gift and accessories collection, and secondly, Frida Giannini created a special edition Gucci for UNICEF bag by injecting a festive spin into a canvas Indy bag, which has scarlet leather trim and matching tassels and a rosette. The small version retails for $1,990 while the bigger size rings in at $2,350.

It’s the first time Giannini revisited a hot seasonal style, which will now be sold year-round to exploit its fund-raising potential.

Also new is the fact that tucked inside the bag is a card explaining that with its purchase, the buyer will support the health of an orphan for a full year.

The rest of the gift and accessories collection will be on sale from Nov. 14 through Dec. 31.

“I think this new version of the Indy is super fresh and the rosette is a fun and playful touch that is an authentic nod to Gucci’s equestrian heritage,” said Giannini. The scarlet rosette, crafted from leather enamel or in print form, is the recurring detail on all the UNICEF-designed products.

“Over the past three years, this [charity] event has gained significant momentum and has crept into the soul of the company because it involves Gucci’s employees worldwide. They look forward to it,” said Mark Lee, Gucci’s chief executive officer. “The consumers also feel part of the project, which gets major exposure because the pieces are featured in the holiday catalogue, in the windows, in the press and through special events.”

Gucci’s charity initiative kicked off in 2005.

Nearly 200 Gucci stores will take part in the latest campaign, which supports more than 15 million children who have been orphaned by the HIV-AIDS pandemic in Africa’s Malawi and Mozambique areas.

In 2005, for example, the funds helped build 150 community-based child care centers and 60 children’s corners in Malawi, which supported 12,800 children. Last year, the proceeds established 141 child-friendly schools that will enable some 56,000 children, particularly the orphaned ones, to have access to education.

This story first appeared in the October 10, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.