From Gucci to Prada, high-end brands are celebrating all things floral through new design concepts for their headquarters. So what can luxury executives learn from this in terms of brand management?
An invasion of floral dresses has taken over luxury brands’ stores.
Relaxed shapes, long hems, and a spring summer feeling have also been worn by the Duchess of Sussex — who donned an Oscar De La Renta dress at the wedding of the late Princess Diana’s niece — amongst others.
But the floral style and the gardening trend have not just been embraced by celebrities such as Lady Kitty Spencer who wore a Dolce and Gabbana cocktail dress, or designers such as Reed Krakoff who developed a “Paper Flowers” collection of jewels for Tiffany & Co.
Recently, Gucci which is riding the wave of the famous vintage Maison print “Flora”, cut the ribbon for the Gucci Garden in Florence. “The newly designed space features a store with one-of-a-kind items, including the Gucci Osteria by Massimo Bottura— a restaurant by the three-Michelin-star chef—and the Gucci Garden Galleria exhibition rooms curated by critic Maria Luisa Frisa.”
An esoteric place that welcomes the visitors with an external purple neon sign in the shape of an open eye, thus creating an interesting atmosphere with a mix of vintage pieces, brand history and new projects, including a collaboration with the Italian chef, Massimo Bottura, who is renowned for his irony, passion, and curiosity.
Flora has been a blockbuster for Gucci since the ‘60s when Vittorio Accornero created the infamous scarf with the floral print for Grace Kelly.
Last week, Prada also introduced their industrial headquarters inspired by a “garden-factory” concept. This new space in Tuscany aims to present the perfect match between architecture and nature; a group of buildings surrounded by greenery, natural light, and water.
“The huge presence of green spaces, enhanced by stretches of water, also with the function of an energy reserve, is an integral part of the factory, not exhibited as mere decoration, but rather set as a condition for the well-being of the people who work there. An architecture that rejects gratuitous gestures and exhibitionism, but rather is faithful to a critical rigor of rationalist origin, in its eliminating and allowing to refine,” explains architect Guido Canali.
Bottega Veneta was amongst the first luxury companies to create an organic vegetable garden in their headquarters a few years ago, where the chefs of the company’s canteen would pick fruits and vegetables and cook them in an early farm-to-table innovative concept.
A few years ago, even Louis Vuitton decided to start producing honey on the roofs of their headquarters in Paris, named “La Belle Jardinière”.
The food industry is also influenced by this trend. The restaurant you cannot really miss out on this season is the Paper Moon Giardino. Situated in a newly-restored, ancient building in the heart of Milan, this restaurant profits from an amazing garden overlooked by a stunning linden tree.
Is Garden the new Black? Why are the fashion and luxury industries so fascinated by flora, fauna and gardens?
In a fast-paced world where volumes of products and time-to-market are both crucial, the idea of a garden grants relief and is somehow therapeutic.
Stephanie Rose, quoted from her website Garden Therapy says, “I believe that anyone can feel the immediate benefits from spending a short while outdoors, digging in the earth and connecting with all that gardening brings.”
Fashion and the food industry were a matter of creativity and authenticity before. Then the business came to life and it brought its insiders into a very energy-consuming rat race that doesn’t give time to recharge, think and elaborate properly due to timing issues.
What could the next step be? Gardening should be a part of the training of top executives of true luxury brands. In terms of brand and team management, they could learn some key lessons:
- You reap what you sow
- Every now and then stop...and smell the roses
- There are always flowers for those who want to see them – H. Matisse
- Patience is key, as well as trust
- Every plant is different and needs different care
- A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself – May Sarton
- We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses – A. Lincoln
- Life cycles and seasons
- There are no fixed formulas for growing a marvellous garden, just daily efforts and adaptation
- Respect the DNA of the place and try little experiments, not big disruptions
- There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments – J. K. Phillips
- Silence is important, as well as a good chat
- Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade – R. Kipling
- Brands are like plants. A garden requires patient labour and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfil good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them — Liberty Hyde Bailey
Susanna Nicoletti for Joliegazette - a fashion and luxury marketing, communication and digital senior professional in the industry with boutique consultancy www. thefashiondispatch.com