A Gucci store selling rare volumes and limited-edition books might sound left-field, but that is the proposition of the shop-in-Gucci-shop that opened at the end of last month on SoHo’s Wooster Street in New York.
From the outside this is much like most of the big brand’s offerings in this chichi part of lower Manhattan with steps leading up to an entrance flanked by large windows with cod neo-classical frames, so far so normal.
Step inside however and there is an almost US colonial library feel to the Gucci Wooster Bookstore. Much has been made of the brick walls and cast-iron pillars that are found everywhere in this part of the city, but the whole has been enhanced by the addition of antique furnishings in the mid-shop and recycled dark wood, used to create the perimeter bookshelf units.
Even the cash desk has the look of a library counter and the leather chair and sofas have a gentleman’s club feel about them. The real question is what kind of books are you going to find in a bookstore from a fashion brand and the answer is as straightforward as might be expected: this is a repository of fashion, culture and the visual arts with a few stationery items to help things along.
As a niche offering from the upscale brand of the moment, there has to be a question over whether the fashion crowd will spend time in this part of the Gucci flagship, but it is an interesting departure.