It was the kids who protested when we queued up for the €6 tickets to the Gucci Museo in Florence — they were exhausted with the sightseeing — so we settled, I’m ashamed to say, for the adjunct gift store where the attendants were happy to talk to us about some of the brand’s most iconic pieces in exotic leathers such as crocodile and lizard, which could be replicated at prices more fitting real estate than bags. We giggled nervously, perhaps because in India, Gucci is associated more with fun accessories than with serious fashion.
That has changed with the launch of the Italian brand’s third NCR outlet (and its biggest in India), making it one of the fastest growing luxury brands in the country. Set up in 1921 by the Tuscan Guccio Gucci as a luggage store, it is hardly surprising that it continues to have a resonance with bags, though Gucci’s greatest asset is its range of gift options at varied price points. Its museo replicas might cost you a fortune, but Gucci fashion and objets can also be picked up on impulse or as presents without necessarily burning a hole in your pocket. Its eclectic range covers high fashion — you could hardly expect less from an Italian design house — but you can also swing into its Mumbai or Delhi stores (two each) to pick up a key chain or an ashtray as a gift, something that no other brand offers, with the exception of Tiffany.
Its biggest store in NCR at Oberoi Gurgaon is spread over two levels, one of which features menswear and women’s apparel, while the other stocks bags, shoes, jewellery, shades and other accessories. For Gurgaon CEOs, Gucci offers what fussy fashionistas refer to as bespoke: customised tailoring for its suits, and made-to-order shoes. And before someone points out the evident sexism, ladies, they offer a made-to-order programme for handbags too.
For years, Gucci has been a style icon even if it was its prominent logo that first seduced Asians and provided fuel to the fakes industry. Gucci perfumes and make-up were must-haves, and women laid great stock by Gucci handbags and clutches. In the last decade, Gucci reinvented itself to take on aggressive design houses and, correspondingly, has stepped up its customised offerings, which is what it brings to the NCR. Indian men like to be measured to size, preferring it to buying off even designer racks, and the made-to-order service should serve it well. Sometimes, the mountain does come to Mohammad.