The closed shops, the impossibility of direct confrontation, the personal relationship that goes off. In short, Gucci‘s 2020 was in some respects “a total disaster”. Words of the president and CEO Marco Bizzarri, guest of the second edition of RCS Academy and Corriere della Sera Online Fashion & Luxury Talks. The lockdown and all the other limitations of these months have put in difficulty the creative aspects that require interpersonal contact. At the same time, the manager explained that the brand “has accelerated some projects that we would have done anyway, but not so fast”.
“Being forced home was a disaster for us. I mean, we have 500 stores around the world and I usually visit them, to talk to the managers and understand how things are going – says Bizzarri (pictured, Imagoeconomica). I had to work only with numbers, which however leave out all the soft part”. A confrontation only partially offset by virtual meetings, “which, however, make empathy impossible” adds the manager. In short, the pandemic has closed people at home. And it stifled the creativity and simmering of ideas typical of the team of designers working with Alessandro Michele. “However, we have accelerated on the technological innovation front, adopting for example a 3D software that allows the creative director to see the development of products quickly – continues Bizzarri -. And then we worked on sustainability. Projects that we would have realised anyway, but maybe not that fast”.
New technologies, new heads
In order to use new tools, however, new skills are needed, which in some cases make their entry into the company faster if they are new employees. “Today, there are 20,000 of us: 10,000 joined the company with me, so we did the generational change – comments the president of Gucci -. In general, however, we need an open mind that allows us to be fast and follow the changes in the world and the consumer’s preferences”. Those famous imperceptible ‘soft skills’, difficult to acquire, which reward Italian creativity.
Personal gifts that, for example, almost project Michele’s creations into an absolute dimension. Speaking of the “hot topic”, as he himself defined it, of the fate of the unsold, Bizzarri explained that in Gucci “at the end of all the processes we are left with 2 or 3% of products. This is destined for outlets. We obtained these results thanks to predictive methods based on artificial intelligence”. “Alessandro’s collections have a great longevity, so potentially even the products of 3 years ago are current – adds the manager, responding to someone’s idea of repurposing old collections -. But it depends on the person”.
The theme of durability winks at that of sustainability, on which Gucci works a lot. On the one hand, some of the unsold items are dismantled and the components donated to NGOs. On the other hand, there is a reduction of the environmental impact that the brand started in 2015, and investments in other projects. All while preparing the celebrations for its first 100 years of life. “We will do a lot – anticipates Bizzarri -. Among other things, Alessandro is working on an important collection that we will virtually present on April 15. We will inaugurate the new archive in via delle Caldaie in Florence, which we will be open to the public by appointment”.