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Gucci’s love affair with historical places leads to show at Gyeongbokgung

Luxury fashion house will showcase Cruise 2024 collection in Seoul on May 16

By Kim Da-sol

Published : March 1, 2023 - 16:42

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Geunjeongjeon Hall of Gyeongbokgung (Cultural Heritage Administration) Geunjeongjeon Hall of Gyeongbokgung (Cultural Heritage Administration)

Italian luxury brand Gucci will finally stage its first-ever major runway show in Seoul in May after “Gucci Cosmogonie Collection Seoul,” scheduled to take place at Gyeongbokgung on Nov. 1, was canceled following the crowd crush tragedy in Itaewon on Oct. 29.

The Cultural Heritage Administration’s committee of royal palaces, tombs and other heritage sites said it has granted conditional approval for Gucci to hold a fashion show near Gyeongbokgung's Geunjeongjeon Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 16. Gucci is expected to present its 2024 Cruise collection at the show.

Before the November show was canceled due to the Itaewon tragedy that claimed more than 150 lives, the Gucci show had been called off once before after a controversial photo shoot by Vogue Korea at Cheong Wa Dae sparked public criticism. But less than two weeks later, CHA reapproved Gucci’s application for the use of the Geunjeongjeon, the main hall of the Joseon royal palace.

According to Gucci, the brand’s dedication and desire to hold shows in Gyeongbokgung is in line with its commitment to sustaining, preserving and promoting cultural and artistic heritage.

“We will work as a cultural mission of South Korea to spread the historical value and the beauty of Gyeongbokgung through our fashion show,” said Gucci, which has pledged to support a project at the historical site aimed at improving visitor experience.

The Italian fashion house had announced a three-year commitment to supporting the conservation and restoration of Gyeongbokgung after the show was cancelled on Nov. 1.

Gucci has previously held shows at places like the Castel Del Monte in Apulia, Italy, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996. The 2019 Cruise Collection was showcased in Arles, France, at the Alyscamps Roman necropolis, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. In addition, Gucci has held shows at New York’s Dia Art Foundation and Westminster Abbey’s cloisters in London.

Marco Bizzarri (right), president and CEO of Gucci, poses with Choi Eung-chon, Cultural Heritage Administration head, at Heungbokjeon Hall, Gyeongbokgung, Seoul, on Nov. 1, 2022. (Gucci Korea) Marco Bizzarri (right), president and CEO of Gucci, poses with Choi Eung-chon, Cultural Heritage Administration head, at Heungbokjeon Hall, Gyeongbokgung, Seoul, on Nov. 1, 2022. (Gucci Korea)

Gucci will start installing runway-related facilities outside Geunjeongjeon Hall from May 6 to 15.

Meanwhile, fashion industry insiders speculated that Gucci will show Joseon royal palace-inspired looks, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Gucci’s opening of its first flagship store in Seoul in 1998.

“The show planned for November was more of a repeat of the Gucci Resort 2023 Fashion Show already unveiled in May last year, maybe with a few added pieces. The upcoming show in May means a totally different collection, unveiling the new Cruise collection for the first time in the world,” said a fashion industry insider.

Gucci said no details have been decided.

The previously planned November show in Gyeongbokgung was an occasion to unveil “Gucci Cosmogonie,” a concept that celebrates stars, paying homage to philosophers Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin.

A cruise collection is often referred to as a pre-spring collection, which was originally planned for the delivery of clothes to clients before they set off on their cruise vacations to warmer climes during the winter holiday season.

Vogue Korea photo shoot at Cheong Wa Dae, released Aug. 22, 2022. (Vogue Korea) Vogue Korea photo shoot at Cheong Wa Dae, released Aug. 22, 2022. (Vogue Korea)