The black-carpeted pathway was lit by ivory candles as guests mounted the uneven stone steps leading to the Palazzo della Mercanzia, where Gucci was celebrating the opening of its first public museum in Florence—the city of its birth. Marking the denouement of the house’s 90th-anniversary celebration, the opening of Gucci Museo—a monument to the company’s products and history—was years in the making, the idea seeded when designer Frida Giannini took the creative reins in 2005. Her first order of business was to explore the company’s archives—and then wonder whether there was a way to bring attention to them while also acknowledging the company’s connection to the Florentine artisans who developed so many of its iconic products.
The museum opened with celebrities, cocktails, dinner, Blondie, and throngs of gawking tourists taking a break from Titians and Botticellis.
On the final day of Fashion Week in Milan, some three hours by car to the north, the company loaded editors from around the world onto a Gucci express, a fast train that shuttled them to Florence to preview the museum, which opens to the public on Sept. 28. (The museum will be open almost daily, and half the €6 admission, about $8, will be donated to a fund to help Florence preserve its historical treasures.)
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