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FLORENCE — There’s no sign of the famous family name in the label two Gucci brothers are launching for spring.

This story first appeared in the November 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

With To Be G, a handbag collection by Guccio and Alessandro Gucci, great-grandsons of Guccio Gucci, who founded the Gucci brand in 1921, the brothers are set on carving out their own niche, while avoiding any trademark infringement.

“We are not doing this because our name is Gucci, nor do we want to try and replicate what the Gucci brand is doing,” said Guccio Gucci during a tour of his Scandicci, Tuscany, manufacturing plant. “We have our own vision.”

Their passion for leather goods and the accessories business runs deep and in this sense they are Guccis to the core. Guccio Gucci, who designs the To Be G brand, spent 12 years at Gucci, where he coordinated development of product and research of hides, until the company was sold to Investcorp in 1989. After working in the textile industry for almost a decade, he went on to help his father, Giorgio, on the GiorgioG handbags line.

“You never forget your first love,” said Guccio Gucci, who bears a resemblance to his grandfather, Aldo, and his cousin, Maurizio.

In 2005, the designer founded Esperienze Srl, based in Scandicci, outside Florence, one of Italy’s main leather goods manufacturing hubs. The company, with sales of about 1.8 million euros, or $2.6 million at current exchange, has been producing for a number of international designers and fashion houses, but the Gucci brothers last year decided to launch their own brand.

“There’s a solid experience behind the project and a structure to support it and we have a specific idea of what the product should look like,” said Guccio Gucci.

Singling out a lily pattern from an original Liberty print as one of the defining leitmotifs for the bags, the flower is reinterpreted in different ways: crocheted with interwoven leather strips, laser-cut or colorfully printed for a more casual look. There are also a number of “grandmother bags,” as Guccio Gucci likes to call them — small and structured crocodile bags with a retro feel. Embroideries inspired by Spanish matador jackets were also on his desk — no doubt a reference to the country from which his companion, Nuria Rincon, hails. Rincon also works on the bags, while Alessandro Gucci is more focused on marketing and communication.

Handbags retail at 550 to 900 euros, or $821 to $1,343. Crocodile totes retail at 3,000 to 6,000 euros, or $4,479 and $8,958.

The company projects revenues of about 700,000 euros, or $1.04 million, in the first year and expects To Be G to be carried in 30 to 40 points of sale, including Luisa Via Roma in Florence, HK Seibu in Hong Kong, No One in Moscow and Eickhoff in Düsseldorf.

While realizing the economy is tough for the launch of the brand, Guccio Gucci said he was confident To Be G will cater to those customers who are questioning what is in the stores today, looking for “timeless, quality products at the right price. Consumers are less futile now and don’t just throw money away.”

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