Retail is a whole new world than it was 12 months ago, but if anyone can get some brick and mortar buzz, it's Gucci. The brand's capsule collection with The North Face was on wish lists even before it debuted yesterday to a diverse group of creatives, superfans, and passersby hoping to get a glimpse of the immersive experience inside the brand's Williamsburg, Brooklyn pop-up.
After talking with a handful of visitors, it became apparent that even though crowds weren't at pre-pandemic levels for a Gucci experience, the intent remained unchanged: getting their hands on something—anything—from the collection.
"I've actually been looking at this [collaboration] for a while," Marcel Israilov said, with three oversized shopping bags in tow. "I signed up online and found out yesterday night that the pop-up was coming to Brooklyn."
When initial word about the impending release of The North Face x Gucci capsule collection dropped last year, fans (of both brands) were reeling. With the luxury house's campy aesthetic and the outdoor apparel brand's knack for practicality, it's one of those partnerships one can't believe didn't happen sooner. The two are so well-matched, in fact, that the seamless meshing of the brands' very distinct logos and effortless blends of design and functionality are just par for the course, rather than elements of surprise.
Nestled in the heart of arguably Brooklyn's most famed neighborhood, the splashy optics of the pop-up could be spotted blocks before arriving at its doorstep—a neon sign serves as a beacon of light to notify shoppers, like Maxx Evan, who traveled from the other side of the bridge, that they had arrived.
"I love fashion. I live in SoHo, but I work in Greenpoint," Evan said. "So I got off early because I knew I had to check it out today, since it's the first day."
In an attempt to encourage social distancing and preserve the intimate shopping experience, customers were allowed in only a few at a time. Once indoors, a very Gucci experience ensued. The floor was lined with plush (fake) grass for a sensory element that further promoted the collection's outdoorsy vibe. Well-styled mannequins donned sporty pieces from the lineup while simultaneously dripping with accessories, in true Alessandro Michele fashion.
As for inventory, the racks were filled with an assortment of ready-to-wear and accessories from the coveted capsule collection. From sweaters and vests to hiking boots with coordinating socks, there was something in the lineup for everyone. But according to a handful of shoppers waiting in line, the only item "worth getting" was the puffer coat.
"If I'm going to come to something like this, I want to get something bold and big," Evan explained. "I don't need socks or anything like that. I want to get something worthwhile that I'll use a lot."
"I really like the [puffer] skirt and, of course, a couple of the jackets," Kyra Thiel, a North Face fan, ruminated just before entering the store.
Eager shopper Oumar Kante had the same sentiments, citing the Gucci logo puffer jacket as the piece he was hoping to snag from the pop-up. "I wanted a specific piece from the collection. So I figured I would pop in and see what's up," he said.
If you're itching to check out the collection for yourself, now would be the time to do so. With wait times on the first day averaging only about 30 to 45 minutes, opportunity is knocking.
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