Can House of Gucci Propel the Heritage Fashion House?

Ridley Scott’s romp through the Gucci family’s checkered past hasn’t wowed critics. Will it dazzle consumers enough to remedy the brand’s slumping sales?

Photography by Fabio Lovino

Finally, the wait is over: the much-memed and hotly anticipated House of Gucci has arrived. The two-and-a-half-hour long film, directed by Ridley Scott and featuring an all-star cast—Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, all dressed to the nines—debuted Nov. 24 and raked in $14.2 million over Thanksgiving weekend. In the pre-Covid era, this would be a modest success; instead, it’s a record-setting debut since the pandemic nearly obliterated cinema as we knew it. 

But will this box office success translate into profit for the Italian fashion label? According to consultancy Launchmetric, the movie has garnered over 25,000 posts across news and social media, worth an estimated $104 million. The Gucci family isn’t exactly thrilled with its depiction, which spotlights a period of time—the ‘80s and ‘90s—that’s considered a low point aesthetically for the brand. The Gucci squad is even calling the film “extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built.” Now owned by Kering, the fashion house didn’t have much input on the film’s content or production—Gucci lent the actors items from its archive and allowed the crew to shoot inside its Rome store, but that was all.

Photography by Fabio Lovino

The film depicts the story of Patrizia Reggiani, played by Gaga, who paid a hitman to murder ex-husband Maurizio Gucci in order to take control of the fashion house. Modern-day Gucci, however, seemingly prefers to disassociate from this scandal. Still, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. And per Business of Fashion, the brand may not want to poo-poo the film’s ability to inspire covetous consumers back to the Gucci name. Third-quarter sales were down for Gucci—bad luck that wasn’t shared by Hermès, Louis Vuitton, or Dior. 

“It is probably to the brand’s benefit to maintain a healthy arms-length [from House of Gucci],” says Marc Beckman, founder of New York-based ad agency DMA United. On the other hand: “[The film] should provide useful buzz around Gucci—needed, I would argue,” a Bernstein analyst says. While House of Gucci may not be the crowd-pleaser everyone on Twitter said it would be, the millennial embrace of the brand’s name as slang for cool/lit/hits different is probably one of the most successful organic marketing campaigns going. 

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