Gucci x Farfetch: Spend More Time Living Forever
A partnership with Farfetch promises Gucci at your doorstep in 90 minutes or less. Is it a feature-length publicity stunt or the future of e-commerce?
Photograph by Pietro D'aprano / Getty.
If you have to set foot in Trump Tower, visiting the Gucci store is the way to go. The attractive, attentive salespeople will offer you still or sparkling. You can stroke the lamb fur lining of a turquoise Princetown slipper (good for the plane), spritz and sniff the new scents (Wonder Woman Gal Gadot is the face of Gucci Guilty), marvel at a technicolored dream coat (calf-length mink intarsia, $54,000), and look down, from a little window on the third floor, at the scrum getting their bags scanned in the lobby below. A handful of brands might be a better fit for the tower's bulging bottom—Dolce & Gabbana and Brioni come to mind—but Gucci has a certain ring to it, the cha-ching ring of the cash register. In this way, it is like "trump" (noun), the card of a suit any of whose cards will win over a card that is not of this suit, like a wealthy Y chromosome in a presidential election.
A location that's super-convenient to Melania (who wore Gucci's fuchsia pussy-bow blouse to the second presidential debate) and Kellyanne Conway (who called the red, white and blue Gucci coat she wore to the inauguration "Trump revolutionary wear") is farther afield for many fans of the brand. Enter Farfetch. The high-end online retailer recently introduced a delivery service, F90, that outpaces its competitor Net-à-Porter. If you live in Dubai, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Milan, New York City, Paris, São Paulo, or Tokyo, a Farfetch elf will bundle up the Gucci design of your choice and dispatch it by motorbike messenger in ninety minutes or less. "Timely delivery of product remains the top of all criteria for luxury consumers," José Neves, the CEO of Farfetch, told the New York Times. "They want storytelling and theater of course, but they also want their chosen item, in the right color, size and in their hands as quickly as possible."
Gucci is the darling of its parent company Kering, posting double-digit growth across all product categories in the first quarter of this year, and faring well with Boomers and Millennials alike. Gucci's posterchildren include the musicians Harry Styles and Florence Welch, washed-up sexpot Jared Leto, and the endlessly corruptible Dakota Johnson (next up: Fifty Shades Freed). At the store, the tourist-to-local ratio seemed around 1:1. There were fly young guys perusing watches and buying sneakers, mom-and-daughter duos on sprees, and a short woman in her late fifties asking for help adjusting the shoulder strap of her coated microfiber tote. "I'm wearing it too long," she said, demonstrating the way it sort of flapped against her backside, and a staffer helped her reel it in so it would hit at the hip. Chic ambisexual hippies who looked like they lived in a NoLiTa grotto strewn with crystals, vape pens, 27" iMacs, hourglass timers, and goggles and stilts suitable for festivals in the desert picked up and put down scarves. I imagined them fulfilling a frantic freelance dream at Milk Studios or NeueHouse, pitting an acai bowl via UberEats against a bootie delivery by F90 like kids racing sticks down a stream.
It is admittedly difficult to think of circumstances that would necessitate the use of F90, beyond a Veruca Salt paroxysm of wanting it and wanting it now, but luxury is the antithesis of necessity and Gucci these days is all about childish pleasures. Since the 2015 departure of Frida Giannini, who plundered the archives, Gucci has gone in an interestingly pretty, dreamy, storybook direction. Under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele, the women's clothes look like what schoolgirls between the ages of 6 and 11 would dream up and draw on paper, or pull out of the dress-up box. His designs have an old-timey opulence redolent of Renaissance portraiture, with luxe fabrics and busy motifs. Flowers abound, along with big and little bows, sparkles, hearts, stars, butterflies, appliqué, clashing patterns and adorable animals. For his recent cruise show, at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Michele sent a long pink-and-purple frock down the runway that suggested a Margaret Atwood handmaid living in the land of My Little Pony. Men's belts feature a dragon head clasp eating its own tail, and Donald Duck can be found on the back of a bomber jacket.
To demonstrate F90's possible applications, Farfetch has come up with a couple of farfetched scenarios—supposed fashion emergencies that lend drama to a short promotional video. Street-style photographer Tamu McPherson upturns a cup of coffee on her handbag in the comfort of her kitchen; whatever's next on the agenda, no other bag will do. Japanese actress Yuku Araki puts a load of Gucci through a hot dryer cycle, shrinking the clothing to doll-sized proportions. Model Laura Love showers at a gym after a grueling session with a punching bag and finds her change of clothes stolen out of her locker. When you're stranded at the laundromat or literally naked, ninety minutes better feel like milliseconds. Couriers in helmets are hugging curves on Ducati-like bikes and receiving hugs from ecstatic customers when they arrive. Reunited with their Gucci, the girls go crazy! They dance around in a hailstorm of celebratory streamers and shiny confetti. The tagline is spelled out in elegant serif across two lines, despite its brevity:
It feels like a gimmick, but F90 and other couriers of this nature are likely to proliferate as the new iteration of fast fashion—an upgrade, if you will. The F90 selection has been smartly curated to encourage the proverbial impulse buy, provided your rainy-day budget is as big as a hot-air balloon. Did your douchey night at Le Bain involve inebriated right-swiping on Raya, resulting in your waking up twisted in a handsome stranger's Frette bedsheets, with yesterday's party dress looking like a crumpled pantiliner, and now he wants to have brunch? No sweat: F90 will bring you boyfriend jeans (light blue denim punk pant, $820). Have you shown up giftless to a gayby-shower? In a pinch, a Snake keychain ($370) doubles as a mobile charm. Luxury has heretofore stood for time and care; Michele's collaboration with Farfetch manages to make a rush job look glamorous and efficiency look plush. No easy feat, as Condé Nast discovered with the slow, expensive failure that was Style.com. The site now redirects to Farfetch, which this month struck a deal with Condé to commercialize the publisher's online content and funnel its readership toward hundreds of luxury brands.
From high fashion on down, everything is getting denser and more centralized while the labor happens offstage, with FreshDirect giving way to meal kits with pre-pinched spices, Walmart workers making deliveries that fall within their commute home, and your HomePod or Alexa functioning as a privatized air traffic control tower for a fleet of Amazon drones. Buying stuff gets easier as we get busier and lazier. When Biggie stayed Gucci down to the socks in the nineties, conspicuous consumption was done in-store and in person. Now our billionaire class favors gorpcore and seeks to live forever.
"My father was a shaman," Michele told The New Yorker last year. "He told me that time doesn't exist. He didn't use a clock. He told me that if you try to stop with the idea that time exists you will live forever."
TIME LIVING FOREVER
is the most luxurious aspiration we can imagine, a young shaman's hallucination of the good life. It would look good on a t-shirt.
Gemma Sieff is a writer and editor living in Bed Stuy. Her work has appeared in VICE , Harper's , and the Paris Review.