Fusing food with fashion: Inside the Gucci Garden

We teased it's opening back in November last year, and have been counting down to this day ever since. 

As of now, Gucci has unveiled the new Gucci Garden, the most remarkable move by the cult luxury brand yet, an experiential, multi-level galleria and retail space residing within a 14th-Century palazzo in central Florence. 

The brain child of Gucci's Creative Director Alessandro Michele, Gucci's latest offering comprises a store with exclusive and dedicated merchandise, an exhibition space, as well as a fine dining restaurant fronted by three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura. 

Coinciding with the opening of menswear tradeshow Pitti Uomo, is located in the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, which dates back to 1337, whose facade is lit up by a giant neon eye artwork. Visitors can expect to pay eight Euros for entry, half of which will be donated to restoration projects in Florence. 

The ground floor is free to enter, and shoppers will delight over the exclusive ready-to-wear items contained inside the bazaar-like boutique, including luxe silk bomber jackets boasting the Gucci Garden Gothic script, accessories and other bespoke items such as whimsical carillons featuring new motifs like the bat or or eye design displayed outside. The Gucci Decor collection is also available to purchase. Hello, collector's items!

The considered design respects the original architecture of the palazzo, with one room combining burnt yellow plaster walls with red, to tie in beautifully with the arched shape of doorways and windows, while the floor is made from hand-aged marble tiles. Original stone pillars and coats of arms stand proudly in a second room, marked by a pale blue colour harking back to the Antica Libreria Cascianelli in Rome. 

Famished fashionistas can take a welcome break by heading to the Osteria, adorned to perfection with capitonne sofas in green velvet and thick green curtains, 19th-Century majolica vases and leafy motifs strewn across the floor. 

Bottura's menu was influenced by his travels, then applied to traditional Italian cuisine. Think handmade tortellini with delicate, creamy Parmesan sauce, as well as the Taka Bun (aptly named after his sous-chef Kondo Takahiko), a steamed break with pork belly lacquered with balsamic vinegar and miso, completed only with a secret sauce. 

Inside the Galleria exhibition space, visitors can pour over the thousands of vintage Gucci pieces and curated art by Maria Luisa Frisa. “We want to tell a story and the plan is to change and transform the space each time,” the curator said.

Spilling across six rooms on two floors, the Galleria is divided by theme, starting with the GG logo and delving back into the brand's archives as early as 1921. Progressing from the colourful dresses from the seventies through to the recent collaboration with the Gucci Ghost, the Galleria proves the breadth and impact of the GG logo. Other rooms boast staples from the brand, including the Jackie Bag and iconic white liquid gown, or the luggage-making origins of the brand and its founder Guccio Gucci's days as a bus boy in London. 

But that's not all, the multi-level galleria also includes a 30-seat cinema!