The Italian vogue model Gucci is increasing its presence in Canada with a brand new retailer in Edmonton
The 6,500 square meter retail space in West Edmonton Mall is the brand’s first “dedicated presence” in Alberta’s capital.
The recent store opening is one of several steps the Italian fashion company is taking to expand its presence in Canada, said Susan Chokachi, President and CEO of Gucci North America.
“We see an opportunity in Canada to expand the Gucci brand history and deepen our roots, not just by strengthening our flagship markets, as we have and will continue to do, but also by expanding the Gucci brand to new ones and dynamic cities, ”explains Chokachi.
Founded in Florence, Italy in 1921, Gucci has long been known for its unique ready-to-wear designs, signature interlocking “G” logo and monogram-printed pieces.
Under the creative direction of designer Alessandro Michele, the brand has grown in popularity in recent years, with iconic designs emerging as must-haves in the fashion world, including the Princetown slippers, the Dionysus handbag, the Marmont belt, and more.
Coveted – and Instagram-ready – pieces from limited collaborations with companies from The North Face to Disney have made the brand even more popular with fashion fans and collectors in Canada and beyond.
While the closure of the Holt Renfrew department store in Edmonton in January 2020 meant the closure of the luxury brand’s boutique, Gucci has maintained its connection with Holt Renfrew in other markets such as Vancouver and Toronto and used the existing presence to provide “immersive experiences” for customers, according to Chokachi to start this and other unique collaborations called Gucci Pins.
“Despite the COVID lockdown, we were thrilled to bring The North Face X Gucci to Holt Yorkdale to give Canadian customers the exclusive opportunity to purchase the collection and further cement Canada as a key market,” said Chokachi.
Towards the end of 2020, the brand also “reinvested” in its flagship location in Toronto on Bloor Street with a comprehensive renovation of the 8,000 square meter retail space. And there are plans to renovate the brand’s Vancouver store, located at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, in early 2022.
Chokachi points to the Gucci Changemakers Global Program, launched in 2019 that works with nonprofits to “support industry change and promote unity through community action,” as another link for the company in Canada. The Toronto-based organization UforChange is one of the sponsors.
“As we continue to work with the Gucci Changemakers Program, we continue to build strong connections within communities across Canada,” says Chokachi. “Whether through voluntary work, scholarship financing or charitable funding.”
The overall goal of strengthening Gucci’s presence in Canadian markets, explains Chokachi, is to “embed” the distinctive ethos of the 100-year-old brand in order to “build lasting community relationships.”
Visitors to the new Edmonton store can expect a wide selection of the brand’s creations, including men’s and women’s shoes, handbags, luggage, small leather goods, accessories and more.
“We are pleased to be able to present additional offers from the company in Edmonton that were not previously available on the market,” explains Chokachi. “The store combines Alessandro’s latest store concept with design elements that are different from the West Edmonton Mall and allow visitors to escape into Alessandro’s Gucci world.”
Chokachi is confident that the newly expanded presence will also introduce the Italian luxury brand’s goods to a new customer base, including locals and – once the travel bans are relaxed – visitors too.
“We believe there is an opportunity in Edmonton to partner with a new customer base from home and abroad visiting the newly expanded mall,” says Chokachi. “Which we may not have had direct access to in the past.”