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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Q&A: Frida Giannini

By now, you know all about Gucci's massive concert/auction/benefit/store launch tonight at the United Nations: the mega-draw (Madonna), the acts (Chris Rock, Alicia Keys), the slebs (Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow). I caught up with Gucci creative director Frida Giannini for some tidbits you might not know...

This is a very special night for Gucci. What is it you hope to achieve?
Yes, it is very special indeed. We are raising money for both UNICEF and Raising Malawi, so we hope that the event is a huge success in every way. We are underwriting the entire evening, so 100% of funds generated goes to children affected by HIV and AIDS. Of course, it is also a party, so we hope that everyone has a great time.

Is there a larger message in having the fundraiser at the UN?
There is. The UN is a completely international place. It is bigger than New York, it is bigger than the United States. This global notion parallels the cause to which we are so dedicated. AIDS is a global crisis, one with which people from every country should be concerned. It is much larger than Africa, and we need to remind people of that.

Can we expect to see more grand gestures like this from Gucci?
This is a very special celebration for a very special occasion, the opening of the new Gucci flagship. We will have to wait and see what happens in the future!

The bag collections you've created for the new store look great. What was your inspiration?
Thank you. I wanted to create something extraordinary to parallel the beauty and scale of the new store. There are two collections of bags: the Heritage collection and the New York Exclusive collection. Heritage is a one-of-a-kind collection of bags that represent the ultimate in luxury. I looked through the archives and resurrected several iconic models that I reworked in skins. Additionally I resurrected a vintage print called "Leonardo," which was first created in the '50s. For this print I was inspired by the timing, as its introduction in 1953 coincided with the opening of the first Gucci New York boutique the same year. The New York exclusive bags are more playful, but also collector's items. The Gucci Loves New York bag is of course a tribute to this fantastic city. All proceeds from the Gucci Loves NY products will go towards the care and maintenance of the playgrounds in Central Park.

Can you tell us about your own love of New York? What fond memories do you have of our city?
New York is unlike any city in the world. It has inimitable energy. It is filled with such a multitude of different kinds of people, filled with culture, and filled with history. It is the only city where you can get anything you want at any hour, which I absolutely love. I have many fond memories of coming to New York, but some of my favorites are going vintage shopping with my design team in Soho. And each time I fly into New York and see the skyline of Manhattan, I am in awe.


The new Fifth Avenue store...


The exclusive bags...

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