Looks from Gucci's cruise 2016 collection.

NEW YORKGucci’s first store in the U.S. to boast creative director Alessandro Michele’s new retail concept opened last week at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan.

The 8,000-square-foot store is a riff on the theme of travel. Steamer trunks are used as a design element throughout the store, a nod to Gucci’s history. Founder Guccio Gucci in the Twenties opened a workshop in Florence specializing in trunks and travel accessories.

The Brookfield Place location also takes its cues from Gucci‘s Via Monte Napoleone flagship in Milan, Michele’s first fully realized new store environment, which bowed in September.

Rivet-lined hard cases, which form the base of a jewelry vitrine and anchor glass fixtures displaying handbags, are juxtaposed with soft velvet furniture in Art Deco shapes and a palette of peach, beige, cherry, teal and black.

Striking marble floor inlays create a herringbone effect that the company calls a “marble carpet,” which is set off by the austerity of cement floors.

The store is large enough to accommodate new product categories, such as fine jewelry, which will bow in 2016. For now, there is silver and fashion jewelry such as a lion’s-head bracelet with Swarovski crystals and a double-wrap ring with tiger heads.

The ratio between men’s and women’s merchandise will change with each new collection the store buys into. For the opening, the assortment leans towards women’s. Ready-to-wear comprises about 25 percent of the assortment.

The Brookfield Place location opened with Gucci’s cruise 2016 collection, including several important looks.

A yellow lace gown, which was a highlight of Michele’s cruise runway show in Manhattan, is displayed on a mannequin. The $21,500 gown has an embroidered tiger and snake, bejeweled birds, stars and leaves, and giant crocheted strawberries.

The store has other special pieces such as a long turquoise leather ruched gown, $17,500. There’s also a long mink coat with a bird appliqué and a trenchcoat made from python skin. More discreet is a toggle coat with small tigers for the toggles.

A large shoe salon features the full spectrum of footwear, from sneakers to day shoes to evening styles.

A profusion of Michele’s GG Blooms pattern, which was expanded into a full capsule collection for cruise 2016, can be seen at the store, splashed on everything from high tops to handbags, and wallets to silks. The classic beige and ebony GG supreme canvas shoulder bag with Blooms print and antiqued rose leather detail is $2,400.

The Dionysus handbag, identified by its antiqued silver tiger motif and sliding chain shoulder strap, comes in black arabesque GG supreme canvas with black leather detail, $3,290. Other varieties include the Dionysus Blooms print shoulder bag in green printed leather, $2,700.

The house’s classic bamboo top handle bag gets the Blooms treatment, printed on leather, $2,490.

A masculine interpretation of the pattern with green blossoms appears on a variety of men’s sneaker styles, a casual jacket and matching shorts and unisex items such as backpacks.

The blooms print has become part of Gucci’s DNA, according to the company, and the print will continue to evolve.

Gucci is bullish about lower Manhattan, where publishing and technology companies have relocated. In fact, Gucci’s own offices will be moving downtown to Fulton Street next year.

Gucci continues to open U.S. stores. A unit was unveiled last week at City Center in Washington, D.C., and a store recently opened at Town Center in Boca Raton, Fla. The Chicago flagship renovation was completed last week under Michele’s guidelines. Gucci’s parent, Kering, has said that 30 stores will be refurbished worldwide before the end of 2015.


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