A few brands will not be speeding up their runway-to-retail cycles and Gucci is one of them. According to recent reports, customers of the recently revamped Italian design house will have to wait the average six months for catwalk fashions to hit stores, as Gucci resists following Burberry’s lead in making them available for purchase as soon as they come off the runway. The Italian design house, which posted positive fourth quarter results today, after several quarters of negative growth under former creative director, Frida Giannini and former CEO Patrizio di Marco.
According to a statement from Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of Gucci-owner Kering SA, Burberry’s plan to consolidate its shows and make collections available for purchase immediately afterwards is a notion that “negates the dream” of luxury. Pinault stated on Friday that making consumers wait as long as six months to buy a collection “creates desire.”
“There are some brands for which a runway show is a communications event,” Pinault further stated. “Burberry has doubtless decided what suits it best. What we will decide will be what suits our brands and our vision of luxury.” Pinault also said he doesn’t expect Burberry’s decision to shake up the fashion calendar as consolidating shows would present a challenge for luxury brands with different designers for men’s and women’s collections, per Bloomberg.
Writing for Bloomberg, Andrew Roberts noted: "The difference of opinion speaks to the fortunes of the respective luxury-goods makers. Gucci reported its strongest revenue growth in three years and is expected by analysts to strengthen this year as more of new creative director Alessandro Michele’s collections hit stores. Burberry, by contrast, is struggling to grow amid slowing luxury demand."
Also on the list of those that are shunning the trend towards faster fashion: executives from Dior, Chanel, Saint Laurent and Hermès, who agree that customers have no problem waiting to buy collections. There is no word yet on whether Gucci and Saint Laurent's siblings (Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta) or Dior's cousins (Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine, Marc Jacobs, and Loewe, etc.) will hold their grown and observe the tradition runway-to-retail schedule.
The Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode - the body charged with organizing the French fashion calendar and overseeing the creation of couture - met to discuss the See Now-Buy Now movement. The Fédération's president, Ralph Toledo, released a statement following the meeting, saying: "Our clientele is educated and informed on how the system works."
Per Fashionista: "A task force comprised of Dior's Toledano, Chanel president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky, Saint Laurent CEO Francesca Bellettini and an executive vice president at Hermès reviewed the alternative format in the wake of the CFDA's announcement that it is exploring the idea, as well as commitments to adjust schedules by Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger. The federation's board, which represents the aforementioned houses as well as Nina Ricci, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Maison Margiela and many more, unanimously voted against the idea."