The Gucci Effect–fashion’s newfound willingness to mix pieces of clashing moods, patterns and genres into a completely unique whole–isn’t just driving trends in fashion, it’s exploding the Gucci brand proper.
According to reports, Gucci sales rose a record 48.3% on a comp bases in 2017’s fiscal Q1. Wholesale rose 37% and Gucci stores increased 34%. “Benefitting from somewhat more favorable market conditions, our strong delivery primarily stems from meticulous execution of our strategy and the creative audacity of our Houses,” said CEO François-Henri Pinault in a statement. Credit Creative Director Alessandro Michele, who brought a whole new aesthetic to the Italian brand not too long ago.
The Gucci bump is obviously helping Gucci’s parent company, Paris-based luxury house Kering, which saw strong growth (28.6% to roughly $3.9 billion in U.S. dollars). Kering’s new commitment to luxury eyewear has made it a major player in this space. Kering launched a luxury eyewear division in 2014, including Gucci (which were brought back in-house from previous licensee Safilo) and Saint Laurent.
Kering has reached an agreement with Safilo Group SpA to set up a four-year strategic product partnership from 2017. As part of the agreement, Kering will pay Safilo 90 million euros ($118 million) in three installments through 2018 to terminate the eyewear maker’s Gucci license deal two years early.
“Fashion and luxury eyewear is a niche segment in a crowded marketplace,” said Kering Eyewear CEO Roberto Vedovotto (and former Safilo CEO) in a statement. “Thanks to our portfolio of brands we are now the first company in the industry to be exclusively dedicated to luxury eyewear. Among this portfolio, we are of course extremely proud of our partnership with Gucci, especially given the momentum that the brand is experiencing at this time.”
The jump puts Gucci ahead of fashion house Saint Laurent (also owned by Kering), which saw a similar brand makeover with Hedi Slimane. Until now, Saint Laurent had been ahead of Gucci.