Emilio Pucci is one of these Italian luxury brands that have a rich, idiosyncratic legacy and a full package of well-known style codes, but somehow a number of contemporary designers that took it under their wings in the last couple of years never could put their finger on it. Maybe expect for Peter Dundas, whose ultra-sexy, jet-set nomad vision put Pucci on a very specific shelf of glossy Real-Housewives-kind-of clients. And then, suddenly, Camille Miceli arrived to this kaleidoscope-printed world in 2021. Her debut collection, entitled La Grotta Azzurra, is an optimistic start of the new Pucci chapter.
The designer touched down in Capri – Marchese Emilio Pucci’s beloved holiday destination – this week with her launch collection, making a splash in the late-April waters with an intense “experience” enjoyed by 160 guests flown in from Paris, Milan, and London. The US contingent was represented by the rapper Gunna, whose performance capped off three Pucci-fied days of activations and dolce vita – decadent dinners and hours-long lunches at Bagni di Tiberio; morning yoga classes for stylish Pucci yoginis; and “how-to-style-a-scarf” lessons in the label’s store on Via Camerelle. The see-now, buy-now collection was presented live in various tableaux vivants throughout the island, with Pucci-clad models looking very Slim Aarons in the surroundings. “Pucci isn’t a conceptual brand, it’s a lifestyle brand, so its message has to be direct,” she said. For Miceli it means energizing it further, amping up the joie de vivre factor already embedded in its codes. Energy is an attractive trans-generational attitude, and permeating the label with a positive, slightly trippy vibe will help engage for a wider, younger audience. Miceli also highlighted what she called Pucci’s “humanity and peculiar sensibility,” which she enhanced, for example, by creating hand-drawn iterations of the famous prints. “I think that digitized patterns strip Pucci’s motifs of the imperfections that are part of their unique charm,” she explained. In the new collection, which is full of simple (and at points simply plain, like all the active-wear), casual separates, the patterns’ pyrotechnics are offset by the use of few solid colors. Being a skilled accessories designer, Miceli has cleverly expanded the offer, working around the shape of two interlocked little fishes, playfully replicating the P in Pucci. The designer had it tranlated into enameled bracelets and metallic necklaces; into the outlined rubber soles of funny flip flops; into buckles decorating wooden clogs and high-shine platforms; and into a cute bag shaped like a fish. The Pucci reboot will proceed along a non-seasonal cadence. “The idea of season is démodée,” Miceli said, so jumping on the fashion show merry-go-round isn’t on the agenda yet. “It’s easy to have models walking a catwalk, but this see-now, buy-now formula with monthly new drops keeps you on your toes, creatively speaking, as you have to constantly find new ideas to engage the customers.” Rarely this strategy worked for other brands, but for Pucci – which largely is a “resort” label – that might the right path.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.