Gucci is setting down its suitcases on tony Rue Saint-Honoré for its first permanent boutique dedicated to its Gucci Valigeria travel line.
Sitting opposite Moynat and a few doors away from Goyard in a space formerly occupied by Off-White, the 2,900-square-foot unit located at 229 Rue Saint-Honoré opened Tuesday.
“The opening of our first Gucci Valigeria boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré represents the next stage in our ongoing strategy to reinforce our leadership in the travel category,” the Italian house’s president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri told WWD in an email.
The house’s travel range holds a particular place in the house, as trunks, suitcases and hatboxes were the first items that founder Guccio Gucci offered after opening his store in Florence in 1921.
Bizzari explained that the concept for the travel line’s permanent locations had been inspired at once by the original Florentine store and a three-month pop-up in London coinciding with the launch of the Savoy luggage line that started in October.
The three-month residency in London, which concludes at the end of the year, nodded to its origins story by taking over the tea shop at The Savoy in London, where Guccio Gucci had been a luggage porter at the turn of the 20th century. His observations of guests coming in and out with their exquisite luggage inspired him to start an artisanal luggage atelier.
“Gucci Valigeria is a powerful reminder of our Florentine roots and our timeless craft,” said Bizzarri, calling the line a “symbol of [the Gucci] legacy, reinterpreted through the ages for the travelers and modern-day explorers of every era.”
The Saint-Honoré store, in particular, was created to be “a portal into our ever-expanding world of travel and discovery,” the executive continued.
Its 2,000-square-foot retail space is spread over two floors, inspired by the heyday of rail travel during the Belle-Epoque, vintage light fixtures and all. Window displays take cues from luggage carts, while the interior’s neutral-hued canvas surfaces and dark walnut furniture and finishes go for an impression of well-traveled opulence.
The ground floor evokes a tony train station, with the cash register masquerading as a welcome desk and piles of luggage as decor. Travel essentials such as pajamas, eye masks, beauty products and pet accessories will be offered here. Exotic-skin versions of its weekender duffel and one-of-a-kind trunks also take pride of place.
On the first floor, brass shelving nods to the racks found in old-fashioned trains, while the ceiling is modeled after the arched roof of carriages. A loom-woven carpet in a tartan motif and plush banquette seating give a cozy vibe.
The Paris store offers the full range of Gucci’s travel line from totes and backpacks to garment bags, hat cases and suitcases. Among the styles showcased are the Gucci Savoy line, which plays with the brand’s monogram, its distinctive stripe and the double G hardware, as well as the top-handle Gucci Bauletto handbag model.
Trunks will also be available as well as its newly launched and “Off the Grid” version in regenerated Econyl nylon. It will also be the first retail debut of the freshly launched aluminum trolley suitcase, created in collaboration with Italian luxury luggage specialist FPM Milano.
Sold in Gucci’s physical retail network and online, the travel category has seen a “very positive momentum,” following the early November launch of the Valigeria campaign featuring Ryan Gosling and shot by photographer Glen Luchford. This was particularly visible in the “U.S., Europe and South Asia, where travel and tourist flows have restarted strongly following the relaxation of COVID-19-related restrictions,” Bizzarri continued.
Meanwhile, vintage luggage pieces included in Gucci’s Vault Vintage drops had also generated “great excitement,” he said, attributing this to the “timelessness that is naturally associated with travel.”
Bizzarri said the brand would continue to enhance its offer, both with vintage pieces and innovations in terms of functions and materials such as the recently launched aluminum trolleys.
Further Gucci Valigeria stores in “other iconic city destinations” around the world are in the works, but Bizzarri did not further detail a timeline or locations.
Travel itself is also a longstanding source of inspiration in the Gucci-verse that saw former creative director Alessandro Michele, who exited the brand in November, say that “travel had never been something purely physical” for the brand at the launch of the Gosling-fronted campaign.
“A Gucci suitcase is a magical suitcase,” Michele continued at the time, describing the creatives who had chosen items from the brand as people who “realize the importance of creativity in service of the construction of imaginary places.”