The 10 women stood in a makeshift backstage, styled by Downing for an afternoon in-store event at the retailer’s Beverly Hills store on Wilshire Boulevard. They wore pieces from an exclusive Emilio Pucci capsule collection for Neiman Marcus.
Laudomia Pucci, the brand’s image director in town for the event, went to the archives to deliver a fresh spin on seasoned prints originating from the late Sixties and early Seventies for the resort capsule.
“I think the idea here was to have the ‘perfect wardrobe’ for resort escape,” she said. “And, of course, in this store there is not much resort-beachwear. So it’s morning-to-evening in the season. It’s what we call ‘Pucci perfect’ because you just easily put it in a suitcase. It’s light and you have everything. It goes from the beach, swim, caftan, eveningwear. So you can dress it up and dress it down as you wish and it’s styled as you wish.”
It’s all in the styling that allows for brands to remain relevant across generations, Pucci said, offering that the business her father started has remained appealing to younger customers with its vivid colors and bold prints.
“For us, the younger consumer has always been a question due to the fact that we are 70 years old,” she said. “We’ve been having to think about this. So, every so often, you have to rethink it. In the Nineties it was the legging. Today, it’s maybe pairing it with sneakers. That’s the way of styling and embracing a language where the younger ones relate to it. It’s really how you open it up and make it available.”
Ultimately, descriptors such as casual, sportswear or streetwear are all just labels that have existed in forms across the decades, Pucci pointed out. Streetwear may be of the moment, but she pointed to her father’s first store in 1950 that sold what was labeled as sportswear at the time.
“You could have silk hoodies or cotton hoodies or T-shirts,” she said. “That has always been there, so we’re putting labels. That’s why I talk about also when you’re talking about luxury, how do you look at it? How do you style it? We’re not just about cocktailwear, eveningwear.”
Pucci, who is in town through the weekend, and Downing led an in-store discussion that touched on the company’s history woven in with commentary on the styling of the capsule pieces as models walked in front of invited guests. Pucci said trips and events such as this serve as an opportunity to continue learning more about the brand’s global customer.
Her curiosity about the broader world is something she said she thinks about constantly as it relates to the fashion business.
“The world is changing so much,” she said. “There are so many cultures, so many different ways of embracing the public today that probably were not imagined even five years back. We have our way, our history and our traditions in Europe. America has their own; you have to respect them. Asia has its own. The Middle East has its own. Being curious and being true to yourself is what I always try to keep a balance. Not to go too far away, but not to stay too much looking back.”