Renaissance: The Rise of The House Of Pucci
The House of Pucci, the Italian Haute Couture House is experiencing something of a Renaissance. In the Autumn of 2021 it appointed LMVH (Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton) stalwart, Camille Miceli to take charge of its ‘House’as Artistic Director. Since its inception in 1947 by Italian aristocrat, Don Emilio Pucci, Marchese di Barsento, this is the first time that a female has headed-up the fashion house.
At the time of her appointment, Miceli stated that Pucci should be perceived as a lifestyle brand as opposed to a non-conceptual one. Her comment is evidential in the brand’s understated genesis when it sold silk scarves printed with bold, geometric prints, and kaleidoscopic colours. The evolution of the Pucci signature as we comprehend it today is in part thanks to Stanley Marcus of world-renown luxury department stores: Neiman Marcus Group Inc. As a result of Marcus’ conviction in his designs, Emilio Pucci expanded his range to blouses and wrinkle-free dresses using the same prints. He went on to design the one-piece Ski Suit, and a Swimwear range in 1949 using a stretchy fabric that caught the interest of several US manufacturers who wanted to produce them.
Miceli considers The House of Pucci to be a ‘lifestyle’ brand whose reputation was undoubtedly established in the mid-twentieth century amongst the rich and famous, ergo becoming synonymous with the International Jet Set: Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Jackie Kennedy to name a few. In the 1950s and 1960s,as Pucci penetrated the US market, it was equally celebrated for its ready-to-wear as well as couture collections in Europe and America.
Fast forward to Spring 2022, and Camille Miceli has dropped her first collection for The House of Pucci entitled: “La Grotto Azzurra” (“The Blue Sea Cave”). She describes the overall theme as an homage to Don Emilio Pucci’s playground in AnaCapri (Capri) which he shared with fellow wealthy clients. Micelli also believes that she retained the ‘Joie de vivre’ inherent in Pucci’s original designs. Camille and her team decided to contemporise the design process without compromising the imperfections of the handcrafted, restoration of the original designs. She achieved this by alternately enlarging and compressing various shapes and prints which culminates in a Nomadic, multi-seasonal and multidimensional wardrobe which you can mix and match as you please.
The collection itself boasts fluid materials such as: voile, silk chiffon,stretch jersey, cotton, etc. which Miceli and her team mould into long and short Caftans and Kimonos; Foulard mini skirts; trousers and shorts adorned with extra-large, flower patterns. The cornucopia of colours and materials lend themselves to the accessories which also display the newly-designed Pucci logo (more of this later). Bags are woven with straw, dual canvas totes flaunt upcycled, vintage scarves; hoops are bold; sandals are wedged and vertiginous; hats are scarves, and flip flops are fishy feather shoes! Finally, beach ‘essentials’ such as beach cushions, playing cards, and Backgammon sets flick a nod to nostalgia, and the golden age of “La Dolce Vita.”
Re-invention is at the core of Camille Miceli’s takeover at The House of Pucci. She characterises the Fashion brand as ‘transgenerational and energising’ whilst being mindful of contemporaneous discourses surrounding gender fluidity. In fact Pucci’s current clientele demographic seems to have transcended the previous generation’s, and have been usurped by Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Z) who are more than willing to splash-the-cash for a slice of Italian Fashion Heritage. Here, Miceli and her team struck gold by hitting on a winning formula: design clothing with a trippy, psychedelic, swirly pattern -reminiscent of Pucci at its zenith- that speaks to the Zeitgeist of the early ‘20s.
Continuing the theme of reinvention, Miceli was afforded the accolade of re-imagining Pucci’s historical logo, which was in part inspired by a 1963 “Capri Sport.” The letter ‘P’ was created by intertwining dual fish to form a 21st Century-era House of Pucci which can be easily translated and interwoven into an integral part of the design of: buckle, a pair of wedges, a single earring or a pair of wooden-soled sandals, etc. Furthermore, she made the decision to not do seasonal Fashion Weeks. Instead, her focus will be on ‘dropping’ another two collections in Autumn that will be available to buy in retailers and online immediately: Miceli’s journey to this point was definitely worth the wait. With high profile celebrity fans such as: Alexa Chung, Kylie Minogue, Rita Ora, and Madonna to name a few, Pucci is sure to retain its reputation as the “La Dolce Vita” Fashion House.