New GUCCI boutique adds to Jeddah’s glitz, glamour

As VIP clients and eager fashionistas waited anxiously for the gold Gucci ribbon to be cut by the acting Italian Consul General and Sheikh Abdullah Binzagr, President of Rubaiyat, anyone could tell this wasn’t Jeddah’s usual launch of a boutique. With camera flashes going off every second and a red carpet setup with a Gucci-logo-adorned backdrop, it was more like a scene out of Fashion TV instead of the expected reality of Saudi Arabia. This was definitely a pleasant surprise and without a doubt, has set a new standard for other labels to strive for.

Gucci brand manager, Shaza Mahmoud, greeted guests as they walked into the celebrated fashion house that has become synonymous with high-end leather goods and immaculately tailored ready-to-wear for both men and women.

“With our new flagship store, our clients can enjoy a better showcase of the whole range of Gucci products and get a feel equal to that of the Gucci stores in Milan, Paris and New York.” Gucci boutiques have always reflected a mantra of elegance and exclusivity; and with the help of Shaza’s team, including Gucci visual merchandiser, Tommaso Longo, the new Jeddah location reflected this global concept behind its sister stores.

The opening of the boutique took place on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Al Khayyat Center on Prince Mohammed Bin Abdul- Aziz Street. An exclusive invitation-only event, the opening catered to the local fashion industry of Saudi and its loyal patrons. The store displayed a complete range of Gucci products, including luggage, shoes, leather goods, accessories, and shomagh-inspired scarves. It’s no secret that Gucci has become a household name here in Saudi, a country that prides itself on being label-conscious and fashion forward. We may wear traditional garb, such as abayas and thobes, but that still leaves shoes, accessories, and handbags to be fully exposed and envied. If anything, our traditional clothing has put more emphasis on such items and therefore, has increased the demand for these high-end accessories. The new Gucci boutique is a welcome addition to Al Khayyat, the Saudi fashion destination equivalent of Avenue Montaigne and Rodeo Drive.

The houses’ Creative Director, Frida Giannini, designed the boutique’s exclusive concept to create an aesthetic that is complementary to the brand as it stands today. The interior of the boutique was designed by architect James Carpenter and is a glamorous mix of corrugated glass, mirrors and polished gold and bronze. Its opulent decadence is a nod to the richly chic Art Deco period yet sets the stage for Gucci’s new 21st century image. Unlike most boutiques in Saudi, Gucci allows for unobstructed views from both the inside and out through Giannini’s introduction of natural light through the floor-to-ceiling windows and its complex use of glass and mirrors. The aura of exclusivity is further defined by a series of compartmentalized areas. Upon entering from within Al Khayyat Center, the boutique opens on a section solely dedicated to Gucci’s wide selection of female handbags and accessories — pieces that reflect Gucci’s years of mastery with leather goods. In order to create two entirely separate environments, men’s accessories are located at the other end of the store which can be accessed directly through the street entrance. Separating both sections is a display area dedicated entirely to Gucci’s highly coveted footwear and luggage.

Patrons of the fashion house will no doubt receive unparalleled personal service at the boutique. With every attention to detail being paid, Gucci has elevated the shopping experience to a luxurious ritual. “The store showcases meticulously conceived details, such as Guccissima leather change trays, credit card folios, shoehorns and poles designed for the salesperson to theatrically reach the handbags from the handbag display.”

From its first shop in Florence to grand boutiques in Rome, Milan, New York, and Beverly Hills, the Gucci boutique has always evoked a luxurious atmosphere that exudes exclusivity, glamour and sophistication. And now, thanks to Rubaiyat, we can happily say that we have our very own — right here in Jeddah.

Article by Marriam Mossalli – Arab News