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Night at the Museo

Gucci Opens a Museum in Florence

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Frida Giannini   
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Gucci opened Milan fashion week last Wednesday, and closed it tonight with a celebration of its 90th anniversary and the opening of the Gucci Museo in Florence. The evening started early, after a two-hour train ride, with tours of the new museum, the highlight of which is a 1979 white Cadillac Seville with a double-G-logo ragtop. Gucci archivists found it in Florida and apparently spent years trying to buy it from the owner, get it to Italy, and rehab it for opening day. Other items in the exhibition included a 1970's picnic basket; a Bill Viola video installation; a surfboard from the Tom Ford era; and red-carpet dresses worn in Cannes, designed by creative director Frida Giannini.

After cocktail hour on the ground floor of the Palazzo Vecchio, parts of which date back to the turn of the fourteenth century, the likes of Camilla Belle, Gemma Arterton, and Abbie Cornish climbed the stone staircases to a vaulted hall covered floor to ceiling with Renaissance frescoes. The black lacquered surfaces of the dinner tables, arranged in two giant Xs, reflected the paintings overhead.

Before everyone tucked into their chickpea and octopus soup, Giannini gave a shout-out to the house's founder, Guccio Gucci: "Ninety years ago he founded the company with the ambition to create something that lasts forever." After dessert, she made another toast, this time to Debbie Harry—"one of my best icons ever," she called her.

Harry performed all of her hits and two new songs in platform foam flip-flops. "I want to show you my shoes," she said onstage, holding up a pair of sparkly heels, "because I can't sing with them on." The stiletto-clad crowd overlooked her fashion faux pas and kept right on dancing.

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