Gucci has opened up its new home for its archive collection in Florence, Italy. Housed at the Palazzo Settimanni, Gucci’s archive collection will feature some of the brand’s iconic archival pieces. Creative Director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele recalls the task of opening up the exhibition stating, “My task was to bring many objects back home, virtually helping them return to the family. To a place which ostensibly preserves the past but which is actually a bridge to the contemporary. An ancient building is a living thing. Like fashion,” said Michele.
The opening of the new home, which occurred on July 1, marks a major milestone in the fashion house’s 100th anniversary. The Palazzo Settimanni, which dates back to the 15th century, was acquired by Gucci in 1953 and has become an integral part of the brand. Michele worked with the Palazzo Settimani to completely refurbish and redesign the building, restoring it to its original character.
“Palazzo Settimanni, now free of earlier additions, is transformed into a magical place to which I have restored a sense of porousness: you pass through it, air gets in, you can walk through it as if it were a journey. I’m porous, absorbent, permeable. I have restored to the Palazzo a fairytale aura which, for instance, allows the small entrance hall to become a gateway to a dream dimension. I envisaged it as a sort of secret place within the House, an inner sanctum from where one sets out for Gucci’s holy lands,” said Michele.
The structure of the building, which includes fairytale-like elements is described as a bridge between cultural and historical realities. Valerie Steele, the director and curator at the exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York collaborated with Michele on the layout and curation of the space. “The archive is a memory palace. Far from being a dusty attic, it is a dynamic system of knowledge production and inspiration. Archives are based on the drive to collect and categorize objects from the past, not because of any nostalgia, but because the style of objects changes over time. This relation to time means that a brand like Gucci, which has a 100-year history, develops archives in order to keep a tangible cultural heritage alive, now and for the future,” said Steele.END
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