Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 02/23/2011

“National, popular, young and accessible.”

That’s how Patrizio di Marco described the new strategic partnership between Gucci and Fiat, and its first product: the Fiat 500 by Gucci.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Gucci-ized version of the iconic mini car will be unveiled today at the show venue, where the house will present its fall ready to wear collection.

“We love this project. It shares the attributes that stand for both Fiat and Gucci,” said Di Marco, Gucci’s president and chief executive.

The three-year collaboration stems from a lunch conversation between the house’s creative director, Frida Giannini, and Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, who was instrumental in the worldwide relaunch of the Fiat 500 in 2007. Fiat was founded in 1899 in Turin and the first 500 model (the “Cinquecento” in Italian) was launched in 1957. The automaker has sold more than 500,000 of the cars since the relaunch.

“At a time when real brand values are being placed at the center of consumer purchasing decisions, both Gucci and Fiat have the potential to capitalize on a set of shared values: iconic Italian brands, heritage, Italian design, quality, innovation and style,” said di Marco. “This is a car that is part of Italian life.”

The Fiat 500 by Gucci will be available in black or white, in convertible and sedan versions. It will launch in Europe in July, followed by Japan in September and the Americas and China in December. The car will also be presented at Geneva’s International Motor Show on March 1.

What makes it Gucci? Design details include the seats, in leather and fabric with classic motifs such as GG and the green-red-green web, as well as the seat belts, which will also feature the web.

On the technical side, the models include the environmentally friendly Twin Air turbo gas engine (85 horsepower); a gas 1.4 liter engine (100 hp) or 1.2 liter (69 hp), and the diesel 1.3 liter M-jet (95 hp). Prices are still being determined, but a basic Fiat 500 model retails at around 14,000 euros, or $19,000 at current exchange.

Giannini has also designed a Fiat 500 by Gucci collection, which includes accessories, small leather goods, apparel, eyewear and watches, which will be available at Gucci stores worldwide.

“We have the reputation and the authority to be successful in different lifestyle areas,” said di Marco, “because not only are we a luxury brand, but also a lifestyle brand.”

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