Patricia Gucci's new adventure is Aviteur
Few people have more famous family names in fashion than Patricia Gucci, even if she cannot really use it. Which seems a tad unfair, given the quality of her latest project – Aviteur, a new and genuinely high-end luxury luggage brand.
A rather discreet lady, Patricia recently launched Aviteur in Paris in the Crillon, the Parisian five-star palace hotel enjoying a renaissance since its 2017 revamp. Her debut bag is displayed, and retailing, inside the famed hotel’s Cabinet de Curiosités.
Pretty well every person on the planet with a passport must also have a wheelie by now, but Patricia’s are all about travel with a difference. The silhouette is hyper ergonomic, and very quiet – thanks to castors and wheels in forged high-grade aluminum, made in the Veneto, to respect Venetian by-laws demanding that wheels be silent in the lagoon city. It’s techy yet artisanal, like its handle: hand-carved yet made of clear polycarbonate.
All bags are finished in interlaced Paglia di Vienna, lattice calf leather, over polycarbonate panels; interiors – including a hidden compartment – come in alcantara. Haute de gamme spy getaway gear.
“It’s a new carry-on, that is absolutely and unequivocally unlike anything on the market. There is an absolute void for a carry-on that is beautiful and not just generic,” explained Patricia, the only granddaughter of Guccio Gucci, who founded Italy’s biggest luxury label in 1921.
“I wanted to bring back the romance of travel, with a no-logo brand,” added Patricia.
Hand-crafted in Italy by skilled artisans, the Aviteur carry-on design echoes the glamour of the 1950s, back when her father Aldo Gucci (Guccio’s eldest son) opened Gucci’s first store outside of Florence in Rome, and movie stars shooting in Cinecittà began flocking to its via Condotti store to buy its famed bamboo-handle handbags.
“Far too much luggage today is generic, without personality. A carry-on should be no different than a designer handbag or briefcase. It should not be hidden,” enthuses Patricia, who got the name Aviteur from avis, Latin for bird, to symbolize the art of flying.
Patricia first learnt her craft by osmosis, her father teaching her the trade in her teens, before she went on to become the “new face of Gucci” as brand ambassador in the 1980s. In 1982 Patricia was appointed to the board of Gucci, becoming the first woman in the company’s history to hold such a position, and was the brand’s roving ambassador in the US and Asia.
“Aldo was the engine and brains that brought Gucci to international fame,” said Patricia, who worked for Gucci up until she was 28, in 1991.
“In 1990, a year before Aldo died, he was forced to sell Gucci to Investcorp, and they tied me legally for 10 years. And I couldn’t really pursue anything after that. But I got an amazing opportunity of five years learning from my father within the company. But then it all ended so tragically in some ways,” sighs Patricia, who now lives in Switzerland.
Her debut Aviteur carry-on comes in three colors - walnut, gray, and black – with variations in patterning and materials used in the panels. Perhaps not surprisingly given its first retail location, the Aviteur is not cheap; a carry-on costs 4,250 euros. Though when one suggests that sounds pricey, she sniffs: “Not really. My father is a constant source of inspiration, because of his attention to detail and quest for perfection. ‘Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten,’ he always used to say.”
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