When shoppers visit the new Gucci store in The Mall at Green Hills, they’ll find an iconic symbol well over 50 years old and not just the horse-bit loafer they might expect.
Beyond the front room, where elegant women’s apparel and wall displays of handbags are interspersed with luxe green velvet furniture, the legendary Italian fashion house pays tribute to another legend — Disney’s Mickey Mouse. Creative director Alessandro Michele celebrates the Year of the Mouse, with Mickey gracing canvas bags, shoes, scarves, small leather goods and clothing. It’s not the first time the designer has recognized the Lunar New Year. For example, last year, he introduced a capsule collection honoring the Year of the Pig.
One of the key design elements in the 5,000-square-foot space is the herringbone wood floor accented by geometric black-and-white marble polychrome inlays. Oriental rugs in rich hues are layered over one another, bringing yet another dimension to the sumptuous design.
The store carries men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing andshoes, as well as handbags, small leather goods, accessories and luggage. The only lines not carried at the Nashville location are home décor and children’s clothing.
A little history: Guccio Gucci opened his first store in Florence, Italy, in 1921, according to fashion industry bible Women’s Wear Daily, and the brand's first U.S. store in New York City in 1953. That same year, according to WWD, the Gucci loafer, with its signature metal horse bit, was launched. In 1994, Tom Ford was named creative director and served in that role for 10 years. Fast-forward to 2015, when the company appointed a new CEO, Marco Bizzarri, who previously helmed Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta. He named Alessandro as creative director.
“The company was really losing speed and was a bit dusty,” said Marco, in a March 2018 interview with Fast Company. For the past five years, Alessandro has approached the collections with humor and just the right amount of bling to appeal to millennials — sequined dresses and bags and loafers with pearl-studded heels. In 2018, a capsule collection, timed with the Year of the Dog, featured the faces of his own Boston terriers, Bosco and Orso, on bags, clothing and even watches. And while the strategy made Gucci “cool again” as Fast Company puts it, fashion is all about change. The womenswear Spring 2020 collection is a departure from Alessandro’s earlier seasons, featuring fewer prints and embellishments and simpler, sexier looks.
No need to wait for the first tulip or daffodil to bloom. Just head to Gucci and peruse the brand’s collection of Ophidia GG Flora bags. In the store’s front room, the colorful, flowered bags line the shelves. They are available in an assortment of shapes including backpacks, totes, bucket bags and shoulder bags. There is also a wide assortment of horse-bit handbags in all different colors, shapes and materials.
Mickey Mouse is featured throughout the capsule collection. There’s a pensive Mickey reclining along the base of an ivory leather chunky-soled sneaker; and a happy Mickey tapping his toe in a sea of GGs on a leather-trimmed canvas bucket bag. The Disney x Gucci collaboration also features Mickey watches and jewelry, including a sterling bracelet with black-and-white enamel charm featuring the beloved mouse showing off his signature sly smile.
Photographs by Austin Lord for Gucci