Today marks the launch of "Gucci Collector: Presented by Christie’s," the first Gucci-certified online destination for appraising vintage Gucci products. The micro-site, which lives on the Christie's auction house Web site, gives owners of vintage Gucci handbags and luggage the chance to have their items appraised by Patricia Frost, Christie's Director of Fashion and Textiles. After she's done her magic, Frost or someone from her team then lets the collector know--via email or phone--whether or not the piece is suitable for an upcoming Christie's vintage sale. The team is also looking for pieces that might be appropriate for the future Gucci Museum in Florence, set to open in 2011. While it might be fun for collectors to find out how much their beloved Gucci monogram pocketbooks and suitcases are really worth, there's something much more significant going on here. Gucci is taking control, step by step, of its secondary market. While other luxury brands whine about their pieces being sold on eBay, Gucci is doing something about it. The current program only benefits current owners, but don't be surprised if you see a vintage section on the Gucci e-commerce site sooner than later. Think about it: Who wouldn't prefer buying a refurbished item straight from the source rather than a riskier secondary retailer?
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Gucci and Christie's: A One-of-a-Kind Match
It was a mix of two pleasures that drew the fashion crowd into Gucci's Madison Avenue store last night; the combined launch of Gucci's made-to-order Bamboo bag and a preview of works that will be up for auction March 10 at Christie's Contemporary Art Sale. The store was filled with a mix of art, cocktails and luxurious leather goods with guests enjoying the teeniest of hor d'oeuvres. A Mark Rothko was perched between vintage Gucci handbags, and a whole wall was dedicated to the classic bamboo Gucci bag. The bag is available in three sizes, and is now available made to order in any color, texture and finish (be that plain or patent) crocodile leather that you so desire. You can also choose your own hardware and have your initial's hand stamped on the inside of the bag. With the largest bag starting at $17,000, one of the extra-special touches is a letter from creative director Frida Giannini herself half way through the process.
Gucci and Christie's Team Up to Bring You the Least Sketchy Way to Buy or Sell Vintage Handbags
Have an old Gucci bag from the '70s lying around? It might be time to go through those family heirlooms because Gucci and Christie's are interested. Or, at the very least, they’ll give you a free appraisal. An online service, called “Gucci Collector: Presented by Christie’s” is the auction house's first ever single fashion house specialization. It launched in January and has gotten over 600 submissions from over 25 countries. Basically, “Gucci collectors” can upload pictures of their vintage items online and within two to four weeks, an expert panel made up of Christie’s Director of Fashion and Textiles, Patricia Frost, her team of costume specialists and the Gucci Archive Department will studiously examine the item and present you with an auction estimate. And if you are looking to sell, you will also be told whether your item is appropriate for a Christie’s auction or of interest to either Gucci or Christie’s from a “historical perspective.” We're not sure what kind of commission they're offering, but this sounds a lot easier than selling through eBay or a consignment shop. And if you do ultimately decide to sell through consignment, at least you can find out what your bag is really worth.
Talking Overpriced Fashion and Prized Wardrobe Possesions with Suzy Menkes
Journalist Suzy Menkes, who's been leading fashion coverage at the International Herald Tribune since 1988, is not one to share her personal fashion choices. (After all, what good is a fashion critic that doesn't begin her day on seemingly neutral ground?) So it was interesting to learn that Menkes planned on auctioning off a good chunk of her wardrobe via Christie's, revealing her designer preferences beyond the obvious. (Anyone who has observed Menkes over the years knows she has a penchant for Issey Miyake.) In My Fashion: The Suzy Menkes Collection, includes more than 80 pieces from Menkes' closet: Christian Lacroix coats, Emilio Pucci shift dresses, and even a cushion from a Chanel runway show. The online auction ends today, and we chatted with Menkes about her collection as well as present-day fashion: from the crazy price hikes to the most exciting runway shows.