By  on April 22, 2010

LONDON — Gucci has made a splash in Covent Garden here with the launch of a Gucci Icon-Temporary flash sneaker store, which opened today alongside the streetwear boutiques, cafes and bookshops that line Earlham Street. The store follows the openings of Gucci’s Icon-Temporary flash stores in New York and Miami last year.

“Finding the London location was tough — we looked at different areas, but we chose Covent Garden because it’s such a cool place,” said Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director. “Saint Martin’s [art and design school] is nearby, and I used to go to the neighborhood every weekend when I lived in London.”

The 820-square-foot space carries 17 limited edition Gucci sneaker styles — 15 for men and two for women — which are exclusive to the store. The designs include a leopard print high-top sneaker for women, along with silver leather sneakers for men with a red and blue fabric stripe, which Giannini said she’d chosen to reflect “the British flag.” The designs all feature silver-plated Gucci dog tags, and customers can have their initials embossed onto leather tags on the sneakers’ laces in the store.

“All of the shoes on sale are limited edition and I think that sort of uniqueness is really attractive to people right now,” said Giannini.

The store’s decor also nods to its location — the space has been painted a glossy white, with a band of Gucci’s signature stripes in blue and red along its walls, while the label’s double “G” logo in red neon shines out from the space’s windows. The sneakers’ shoeboxes are also lined with tissue paper printed with London maps.

On Wednesday night, Giannini — despite arriving in London later than planned due to the flight disruptions in Europe — feted the store with a party she hosted there together with musician and producer Mark Ronson. Ronson has designed two Gucci sneaker styles with Giannini to mark the London launch. The first style, a high-top boat shoe in gray herringbone tweed, will be sold at the Icon-Temporary store, while the second, with black and white polkadots, will be sold exclusively via Gucci’s iPhone app. Prices for the sneakers will run from 400 pounds, or $615 at current exchange, through to 635 pounds, or $977, while the Ronson sneakers will retail for 415 pounds, or $638, for the herringbone tweed style and 435 pounds, or $669, for the polka dot style.

“The whole point of the pop-up stores is to communicate with and create an environment for younger customers and, in particular, fans of music,” said Giannini, who also hosted an after party for the store launch with Jefferson Hack at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club Wednesday, where Friendly Fires and Chauffeur — a band made up of Ronson, Sam Sparro and Theophilus London — played.

The London store will remain open for three weeks. Next up, an Icon-Temporary store is planned to open in Tokyo in June.

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