Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Gucci & Mark Ronson
As Gucci prepares to the open the London branch of its Icon-Temporary shop (the other lucky cities being New York and Milan), its creative director Frida Giannini also takes the opportunity to launch a new trainer collection in collaboration with musician and producer Mark Ronson. The Gucci Ronson series boasts 17 exclusive styles, of which 15 are for men and only two are for the ladies. For Giannini, the collaboration felt natural: “From the moment Mark and I started talking about this project we connected. He has a great eye for design and an amazing knowledge of sneaker history. He is an artist whose influence is cross-cultural and cross-generational”.
Located on Covent Garden's Earlham Street, the shop will open to the public on Wednesday 22 April, but only after Giannini and Dazed publisher Jefferson Hack has celebrated the occasion with a cocktail party. Guests are then heading over to the close-by Ronnie Scotts for live performances by Chaffeur, Mark Ronson's new band with Sam Sparro and Theophilus London, and Friendly Fires. But anyone not able to attend can celebrate in their own time by visiting the store and getting their initials embossed onto a customized leather tag on the GG-marked trainers. So everyone's a winner! Dazed Digital spoke to Ronson about being part of the Gucci family...
Dazed Digital: How did you first meet Gucci’s Frida Giannini?
Mark Ronson: Frida invited me to see a Gucci show in Milan in January last year. I’d never been to one before, but I was like ‘I’d wear that, I’d wear that’. I just thought the colours and the cut was great. I went and met with Frida for lunch afterwards and it was quite clear that we had this good, strong similar sensibility. She knows way more about fashion than I do, but we were thinking of ways of working together.
DD: So you got talking about music first?
Mark Ronson: Well, I had an inkling that it would have to do with shoes, so I had gone out on a shoe expedition and gone to all these antique places, and weird old showrooms and I just bought kind of all these different kind of classic shoes from over the years that I thought would be interesting and inspiring. They were like American wrestling shoes from the 1940s. I took them in and then I realised that this initial gathering was more a getting-to-know-you meet. I must have seemed desperately keen!
DD: What was the design process like?
Mark Ronson: I wanted it to be something that I would wear and I didn’t want to do something for the sake of doing something. So we went back and forth a lot over the course of five months and then they sent back designs. Every time we wanted to change a colours for an eyelet there were loads of extra correspondence and samples sent. But it was good, I mean, there were no massive problems along the way.
DD: What’s your own sneaker habit like?
Mark Ronson: I would go to Japan and get a return ticket and we would go there - this was ten years ago - just to get enough money from our gigs to spend it all on sneakers and come back. I remember liking a low-cut white Nike Air Force One that had a blue and orange trim. I was a die-hard NY Knicks fan at the time! I remember coming back with two pairs - one pair for my friend - and I told him that I was going to give them to him for his birthday, but by the time his birthday came, I had scuffed mine so bad that I told him that I had lost his…That’s how bad it got!
DD: What kind of shoe were you aiming for; something classic like a deck shoe or a loafer?
Mark Ronson: I just had to work within the confines of the mold that they already had for the shoe. We decided that the New York shoes would be boat shoes but in a beautiful soft leather. I also wanted something a little bit more vibrant so we included a polka dot motif. The one for London comes in a grey herringbone, which a lot of people have said they like the best so far.
DD: Is this an ongoing commitment? How many collections are you doing?
Mark Ronson: I don’t know – I’m in discussions about another one, which might be something interesting, but the fashion world is a fickle business.
DD: You’re working quite closely with Frida Giannini, were you often in the Gucci studio?
Mark Ronson: There were a few trips to and from her studio. I enjoyed it and it never felt like work.