“We do not collect and classify objects from the past because of nostalgia: we rather do it because the style of objects changes over time” – stated Valerie Steele (Fashion Institute of Technology). We also do it “to keep a tangible cultural heritage alive, at present and for the future as well”
To begin with, let us focus on Lady D. In the last few days, Gucci decided to revive, by recreating its own style, a leather tote bag, with bamboo handles, which dates to 1991. A few peculiarities (exactly so): it used to be one of the bags Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, liked the best. This is just a simple example to show that, right now, a certain type of luxury goes hand in hand with its own tradition.
To be more precise, it is a long-effect mood, as emphasized right here. Yet it is also about a specific and strategic choice to safeguard and protect own history, therefore turning it into a fully cultural factor. Here are two projects which glaringly (and much more than that) evidence what we have been talking about so far: the Gucci Archive and the Ferragamo Museum.
Gucci’s Archive: what it is about
A historic building (Palazzo Settimanni) dating back to the sixteenth century: placed in Caldaie Street, Florence, this five-floor house, which extends across 2,800 square metres, enshrines the brand’s 100-year-old history. Such are the details about Gucci’s new archive, designed by creative director Alessandro Michele and set up together with Valerie Steele, chief curator, and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
The archive, for the time being at least, is not going to be open to visitors: it will be home to Gucci Education, a professional training project. Palazzo Settimanni was bought by Gucci in 1953. At that time, they renovated the building to make it operational and adapt it to their first Florentine factory.
Gucci’s Archive: the way it is and why
The basement hosts Radura (fine porcelain and household items), Herbarium (writing desk articles) and Maison de L’Amour (leisure items). The ground floor entirely hosts accessories: here vintage bags play a star role in the Swan exhibiting hall. Furthermore, small leather goods and vintage belts (on display in the Prato di Ganimede Hall), vintage bags and suitcases (in the 1921 Rifondazione hall). Bags are enshrined in glass and steel display cabinets. Let us move on to the first floor, fully dedicated to prêt-à-porter, footwear and textile accessories. Shoes are catalogued based on their debut year and season.
“We do not collect and classify objects from the past because of nostalgia: we rather do it because the style of objects changes over time – commented Valerie Steele while speaking to WWD -. Such connection with time leads Gucci brand, which rests on a 100-year-old history, to design and develop some archives to keep a tangible cultural heritage alive, at present and for the future as well”.
Ferragamo’s Archive is (also) online
Salvatore Ferragamo has put online his historic archive. In fact, visitors and followers may get access to it and make a real virtual immersion into its spaces and collections. Salvatore Ferragamo personally wanted to create an archive, subsequently supervised, and progressively built up by his daughter Fiamma. At present, Fondazione Ferragamo currently oversees the management of the archive: over the years, they have been striving to further develop it and make it as well-stocked as well-organized.
Documents, patents, and products, which record Salvatore Ferragamo’s history and his inheritance, are stored here. The virtual tour is available in Italian and English, on Ferragamo.com website, in the area dedicated to the Museum. Visitors can refer to high-definition images, info points, videos, and supplementary information boxes.