50 Years in Japan

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Gucci Celebrates 50 Years in Japan
with special Flora capsule collection benefitting UNESCO and series of events

The year 2014 marks fifty years since Gucci opened its doors to Japanese customers with the 1964 opening of the Miyuki Street boutique in Tokyo’s Ginza district. To celebrate fifty years in Japan, the Florentine House will unveil a series of commemorative events and initiatives throughout the year. For half a century, Japanese customers have shown loyalty and appreciation for Gucci’s craftsmanship, Made in Italy quality, and fashion authority. Over time Gucci has established a lasting partnership with Japan through designs inspired by its culture as well as through social responsibility initiatives. This year, Gucci will celebrate fifty years in Japan through various special events and activities that have been conceived to commemorate craftsmanship, fashion and social responsibility.
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Gucci’s relationship with Japan dates back to the 1940s when the House first imported Japanese bamboo to Italy during the post-war era as an innovative solution to material shortages. The House’s artisans creatively curved bamboo into a handle and applied it to a saddle-shaped bag that would become known the world over as the Bamboo bag. In 1964, the same year that the Olympics took place in Tokyo, Gucci opened its first shop in Japan. This debut was made possible thanks to Choichiro Motoyama, the founder of SUN MOTOYAMA, whose fascination with the House’s innate elegance and Florentine heritage led him to introduce the brand to Japan.
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The year’s first event is The House of Artisans, which will present the craftsmanship involved in the House’s most iconic handbags, shoes, fine jewelry, and silk scarves, at Shinjuku’s Isetan Department Store in March. Gucci’s Italian craftsmen will be stationed at custom-built workshops to offer a unique viewing of time-honored traditions. Gucci’s House of Artisans will subsequently travel to Gucci Ginza in July and to Hankyu Umeda, Osaka, in October.
In conjunction with the first event, Gucci will introduce an exclusive capsule collection that Creative Director Frida Giannini has designed in honor of this significant year. The collection includes handbags, women’s ready-to-wear, silks, shoes, and jewelry – all inspired by the House’s Flora pattern, an icon that made its debut in 1966, two years after Gucci opened in Japan.
 A tribute to the original piece that first introduced the print, the scarf will benefit the ongoing “UNESCO Association Scholarship - GUCCI Scholar” initiative: the House will donate 100% of sales proceeds from the scarf to the cause.
In May, the House will open its renovated Aoyama flagship, located in Omotesando, Tokyo. To celebrate Frida Giannini’s store design concept, “Lapo’s Wardrobe,” a MADE TO MEASURE capsule collection designed by Giannini and Lapo Elkann, will see its Japanese debut. Additionally, an exhibit will showcase Gucci Première gowns in Japan for the first time – a unique viewing of couture craftsmanship.
In July, for the second year, Gucci will be the main sponsor of Hidetoshi Nakata’s charity gala dedicated to the “REVALUE NIPPON PROJECT,” which aims to promote the development of Japanese traditional culture and craftsmanship.  In keeping with the craftsmanship theme of this year’s charity gala, Katagami (Japanese Traditional Paper Stencil), teams consisting of artists, designers and experts from different communities, including Gucci, will create special one-of-a-kind pieces for the charity auction.
In the second half of the year, Creative Director Frida Giannini will pay a special visit to Japan as part of the celebrations. Giannini and Gucci President and CEO Patrizio di Marco will host a dinner in honor of UNESCO.

Social responsibility is key to Gucci as the House enters its fiftieth year in Japan and will be an integral part of this year’s celebrations, with the upcoming capsule collection, culminating event benefiting UNESCO, and continued support of Japanese craftsmanship. Inspired by an appreciation of Japan’s culture, art, and history of craftsmanship, the House will continue to engage with its Japanese enthusiasts through dedicated initiatives that link common values to our future.
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GUCCI IN JAPAN

1962   
SUN MOTOYAMA Co. Ltd. obtains sole distribution of Gucci. Accounts suggest that when Motoyama admired a silver cigarette case at the House’s boutique in Florence, he held it with his pocket handkerchief so as not to leave his fingerprint on the case. Vasco Gucci saw the care that Motoyama took when handling this product and decided to sign a contract with him.

October 1964
Gucci’s first shop in Japan opens on Miyuki Street in Ginza, Tokyo. Following this opening, Sun Motoyama opens several Gucci stores throughout the Seventies and Eighties across Japan, including the boutique in Namiki-dori.
1966
Gucci opens its first shop-in-shop at the Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

April 1990
Gucci Japan is established following the expiration of SUN MOTOYAMA’s distribution contract. That August, Gucci opens directly operated boutiques within major department stores.

1990s

The House’s new creative director, Tom Ford, ushers in a new era, and Gucci begins to show its ready-to-wear collections on the runway in Milan. The number of shops in Japan increases dramatically as Gucci becomes a leading fashion house in the industry.
 
1997

Gucci Osaka opens its doors.
1999
Gucci Aoyama, the first directly operated flagship store in Japan, opens in Omotesando, Tokyo in February.
Gucci Shinjuku, Tokyo, opens in August.

September 2000
Gucci Kanazawa opens.

2005

Frida Giannini succeeds Tom Ford and becomes Creative Director of women’s ready-to-wear in addition to her creative direction of accessories. The following year, Giannini becomes sole Creative Director when she assumes direction of the House’s menswear. Giannini quickly establishes a new aesthetic for Gucci thanks to her successful collections. Her design approach and focused management style are informed by sharp confidence and decisiveness, as well as her uniquely feminine and distinctly Italian point of view.
September 2006
Gucci Nagoya opens.

November 2006

Gucci Ginza, a flagship store, opens in Tokyo. The eight-story golden glass tower, the world’s first building exclusively dedicated to Gucci, is a landmark for Japan’s most stylish visitors from across the country.

May 2009
Frida Giannini receives the 52nd FEC International Designer of the Year Award from the Fashion Editors Club of Japan. She is the first female designer to be commended with this honor.
June 2011
Commemorating the House’s 90th anniversary, Gucci holds an archival exhibition at Hojo of Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion), a world heritage site in Kyoto. Directed by Hiroshi Senju, one of the world’s most famous Japanese-style painters and president of Kyoto University of Art and Design, the exhibition is a successful fusion that showcases the House’s Florentine heritage in a historically significant building that embodies the heritage and artistic culture of Kyoto.

May 2012
Gucci holds a charity event together with Kichiemon Nakamura, a Kabuki actor, to support the education of children who fell victim to the Great East Japan Earthquake. The event generates a donation of approximately 40 million yen. To extend the House’s commitment to relief efforts, Gucci creates the “UNESCO Association Scholarship-Gucci Scholar” program.
July 2013
A special Bamboo bag uses a traditional silk textile called Sendaihira from the Edo Period. Gucci donates all proceeds from sales of this bag to the city of Sendai to support industrial restoration from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

November 2013
Gucci’s Icons of Heritage exhibit takes place at KITTE Marunouchi in Tokyo. The first charity stamps designed by a luxury brand in Japan become available for purchase, and Gucci donates all proceeds from sales of the postage stamp sets to the “UNESCO Association Scholarship - GUCCI Scholar” initiative.

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