Between New York and Milan fashion weeks, Gucci invited me to its hometown, Florence, to visit its fantastically goody-filled museum.
A super-quick ride from Milan on the Frecciarossa train, the museum is located a short walk away from the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and other Florentine must-sees. Opened in September 2011, it houses a permanent exhibition of key pieces from the brand’s archive as well as contemporary-art installations supported by the François Pinault Foundation.
The permanent collection is vast and includes early travel pieces, iconic handbags and shoes, various leather goods, as well as lifestyle-oriented objects of desire like bicycles and high-end board games.
Currently on display is the work of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos’ work decontextualizes things that are considered familiar. Case in point, her sculpture titled Red Independent Heart is made up of half-melted shiny red plastic forks, spoons, and knives that aren’t recognizable until you are a couple feet away. The heart is a plastic version of a popular piece of Portuguese jewelry that is realized using the filigree technique.
In addition to the works of fashion and art, the museum boasts an impressive restaurant. If you make it there, please try the:
• chicken liver pâté on toasted bread
• homemade noodle squares with fresh mackerel fillets, black olives, capers, and glazed onions
• dark chocolate cake with chopped hazelnuts and caramel sauce
• and, very important, the Frida: the house cocktail named after the brand’s fabulous creative director, Frida Giannini
Once you satisfy your culinary desires, head through the restaurant into the bookstore and boutique. There, you’ll find coffee-table books galore and gorgeous, gorgeous handbags from the Bamboo collection. Swoon. Travel lightly, because you never know what Gucci goody you’ll bring home.
For more information, visit http://www.gucci.com/.
Photos: Courtesy of Tamu McPherson