Gucci recently opened its first full-service restaurant in Shanghai, China. With this new culinary destination, called the 1921 Gucci Café, the Italian fashion and leather goods brand is paying tribute to its history, referencing the year of the label's foundation.
Gucci has chosen one of Shanghai's most popular commercial avenues for its first restaurant. Located on the fourth floor of the IAPM luxury shopping mall on Huaihai Lu, the 1921 Gucci Café took two years to complete and is accessible by means of an elevator from the Gucci store in the mall.
Epicureans will step into a décor that perfectly reflects the iconic brand's style. With elegantly done-up interiors in gold shades and full of velvet, every inch of the place radiates Gucci style; the 1921 Gucci logo is stamped on everything from menus to cutlery to napkins.
Thousands of miles from its native land, Gucci is nonetheless sticking to its roots when it comes to the food. The menu is high on Italian cuisine but the restaurant offers a wide range of options to satiate foodie cravings. Chinese gourmands will thus have the chance to experience authentic bruschetta, made with marinated tomatoes, garlic and basil. The pasta options are an obvious highlight, especially the spaghetti with mussels, urchins and calamari. Prices start at 150 yuan for a two-course lunch, 300 yuan at dinner (just under R638.58).
Although 1921 Gucci Café is the brand's first full-service restaurant, there is a Gucci-themed cafe in Florence attached to the Gucci museum, which opened in 2011 to celebrate the label's 90th anniversary. That eatery whips local Tuscan ingredients into delightful little plates.
The worlds of food and fashion are increasingly looking to each other for inspiration. In the Spring, during Paris Fashion Week, Chanel even had the bright idea of turning the Grand Palais into a brasserie for its runway show.
But fashion doesn't just settle for a little nod to gastronomy during a show. It also gets involved. Designer Roberto Cavalli opened a restaurant on Ibiza in 2014 where gastronomes eat in the midst of a 2000 square meter tropical garden filled with the scents of jasmine, honeysuckle and magnolia. Diners can even order vodka made by the designer. Wines from his family's vineyard are also on the menu.
Meanwhile fellow Italian designer Giorgio Armani has long had a restaurant on Paris's Left Bank. Representing America, Ralph Lauren is also in the food business now. Though his Polo Bar only opened up in New York this year, his restaurant Ralph's has been serving up Maryland crab and Maine lobster in a private mansion in the Saint Germain neighborhood in Paris since 2010.
Finally, Kitsuné isn't just riding high on the success of its hip fashion either. The label's two designers, Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, also have cafés in Paris and Tokyo.