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Discovering the 102 Year History of Gucci in London's Immersive Exhibition

by Molly Gymer

Gucci Cosmos has arrived in London after its success in Shanghai earlier in the year. 

The immersive exhibition, curated by Maria Luisa Frisca, explores the fashion house’s 102 year old history - diving into everything from its creation to present day campaigns. 

The exhibition begins in a replica of the Savoy Hotel entrance; the birthplace of Gucci. 

Gucci-branded bellhops welcomed me in and scanned my ticket (which was only £10), ushering me to join a small group of exhibition goers. 

The iconic Savoy hotel, situated just a five minute walk from the venue, is where Guccio Gucci first worked in 1899 and found inspiration for luxury luggage and fashion. 

From the lobby, we piled into a remake of the famous elevator at the Savoy. The world’s first electric lift or ‘ascending room’ as it was named appeared to climb, through a video plastered onto the walls, and a short introduction to Gucci and its creation played over speakers. 

Down a white spiral staircase I began my journey through the world of Gucci. 

Each space, accessed via a revolving door simulating the hotel-like atmosphere, tells a story. 

First up was the luggage room; bright rotating displays showcased the many travel bags of Gucci history. Staff explained the bags on display from hemp fabric bags made during the fabric shortage in World War II as well as the first GG monogram bag. 

And this was merely one instance where the staff enhanced the event with their friendly and knowledgeable approach, elevating the overall experience.

After already filling my camera storage (we’ve all been there), I carried on through the revolving doors into a wooden tunnel branded with Gucci emblems in the signature red and green colours of the brand and a timeline of the brand’s creation. 

Through the arch I discovered more about some of the most recognisable pieces as well as the history of Gucci directors and collections. 

The next space, immersed in darkness, told the story of the equestrian themes seen in Gucci. (Note: this part featured flashing lights.)  

Into a cave of bright fabrics and stunning white floral installations, the classic Flora pattern was on full display. Here you could check out the detailing up close on iconic items including a stunning Floral Snake suit worn by Jared Leto as well as the Flora pattern beaded onto a classic Jackie bag. I could live in this room. 

While the experience starts in a group, the vast space and many rooms allow you to take it at your own pace with time for photos, reading and to stop and admire displays. 

The journey continues to a room focused around the first unisex suit made by Tom Ford for Gucci in 1996. 

Immediately you’re met by two gigantic statues before following through to a recreation of the Gucci archives in Florence. 

The blue room, a fashion-lover’s paradise, holds historical pieces as well as unreleased bags on offer at the exhibit. Staff explained the boxes on display were the originals flown over from Italy and welcomed me to open drawers and cabinets to discover more history. 

While perusing the extensive collection, a mention of ‘Harry Styles’ caught my attention. 

An unexpected delight, the adjoining room held a huge red box, aptly named the Cabinet of Wonders, revealing garments worn by Elton John, beautiful headpieces and shoes, as well as THE Harry Styles’ Coachella outfit. Sparkling under the light, I can’t lie, I was pretty star struck. 

Eventually I continued to the end of the exhibition, first watching a carousel of classic runway pieces and then into another room, bathed in red, to watch a short film beautifully capturing the essence of Gucci. 

The exhibition wonderfully narrates the beguiling story of such a well known and much loved brand. Not only did I learn, I was able to immerse myself in the world of luxury, in the world of Gucci. 

A must visit attraction for fashion lovers in Londonthe exhibition can be found at 180 The Strand from now on until December 31st. 

Edited by Emily Duff

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