Something old, something new: Gucci revives classics to regain edge – fashion and trends

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Gucci is revisiting 1960s handbags and other classics in its latest collection, mixing them with up to the moment sneakers and logoed skateboards, as it seeks to succeed in a wider audience and reverse a fall in sales after years of stellar growth.

With traditional fashion shows cancelled on account of the coronavirus pandemic, designer Alessandro Michele teamed up with U.S. director Gus Van Sant to shoot a seven-part miniseries to blow their own horns his in large part seasonless, gender-neutral creations.

Gucci is showing the videos as a virtual fashion movie festival, with a new instalment released day by day over the class lesson of this week.

The films, which have a dream-like, unfashionable quality with vintage cars and juke-boxes, follow a woman, played by Italian actress Silvia Calderoni, as she goes approximately her day by day routine in Rome.

They feature cameo appearances by celebrities near to the fashion house such as singers Billie Eilish and Harry Styles – all wearing Gucci creations, including re-editions of Michele’s designs from his first 2015 collection.

The former One Direction singer has also created a buzz in the fashion world by appearing on the cover of a December edition of Vogue, clad in a Gucci ball gown.

Gucci watershed

In the back of the scenes, luxury industry watchers say this can be a watershed moment for Gucci, the commerce that drives the bulk of revenue and profits at parent Kering, but which has been losing steam during the last year.

After a almost fourfold increase in earnings since Michele took the creative helm, Gucci’s revenues have slowed down, lagging rivals like LVMH’s Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Gucci was once the only fashion brand in Kering’s steady to suffer a sales decline in the third quarter.

Much of the brand’s success up until recently relied on well-heeled, young Chinese shoppers travelling to Europe’s fashion capitals and snapping up Michele’s quirky, flamboyant designs.

But with international tourism nearly frozen because of the pandemic, Gucci can no longer rely on foreign visitors coming to Europe’s shopping Roads to spice up sales.

Consultancy Bain, which produces closely-followed forecasts for the luxury industry, said on Wednesday the share of top-end goods purchases by native clients is expected to rise to 80-85% of the complete this year from 60% in 2019. Native buyers are still set to account for 65-70% of luxury shopping in 2025.

Gucci is rejigging its marketing and product line-up to refocus the label and boost its appeal among native and older shoppers in Europe and america. The fashion house has, for instance, produced “re-edited” versions of its classic handbags such as the 1,800-euro Jackie 1961.

People born from 1981 onwards — Millennials and Generation Z buyers — now make up nearly 60% of luxury purchases, Bain said, but brands cannot have enough money to neglect the remaining 40%.

This is the reason on top of tweaking their ranges to include less trend-driven items, most luxury labels are directing their customer service to set up near contact with clients who don’t seem to be in a position to go to the stores themselves.

Gucci is still doing timed on many fronts, including an operating margin of 30% in the first half of 2020, down from a record high of 40.6% a year earlier but still far exceeding that of many competitors.

But analysts say there are some signs of fatigue.

Luca Solca of Bernstein said Gucci’s social media traction, while still high, is diminishing. It also seems to have more trouble selling excess stock at full price.

“There is not any red flag at Gucci, but we see an possibility to act now with a view to keep away from bigger issues down the Road,” said Solca in a note.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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