The Gucci legacy and local identity got their due recognition when a dedicated museum opened in 2011, inside the centuries-old Palazzo della Mercanzia in the Florentine “living room” of piazza della Signoria. In early 2018, the space shook things up and started anew, reopening with a new identity and an inventive, modern setup: the Gucci Garden on the ground floor and the Gucci Garden Galleria, laid out across another two levels.
Stepping in from piazza della Signoria, you’ll immediately be transported into the “Technicolor” vision of creative director Alessandro Michele, who conceived this space in all of its facets. This first level is the “Garden”, a fusion of a concept shop and a chic hangout, a benchmark for hip retail-restaurant hybrids: there’s the Gucci Osteria, run by three-Michelin star chef Massimo Bottura alongside a rainbow range of goods sold in the boutique-gift shop. Some are unique to Florence, and are not just ready-to-wear clothing items, either.
Upstairs, however, is where fashion history buffs and culture lovers will have a field day. Overseen by scholar, critic and fashion curator Maria Luisa Frisa, this portion of the space highlights treasures from the archives—think retired advertising campaigns and retro knick-knacks—as well as more contemporary elements of the Gucci image and “voice.” Social media’s tight link to today’s fashion world, for example, is on full display in the first room, “Guccification”, although it may not be obvious at first. Some garments are decorated with misspelled or re-interpreted renderings of the Gucci name (“Guccy” and “Guccify”) taken from hashtags hunted down by Alessandro Michele on Instagram.