Only last week, Gucci launched its delicate floral prints in its various avatars eponymously called ‘Flora’ . Occupying a large table, in the Gucci store at Palladium, was an artisan preparing and painting a fabric, which will probably end up as a dazzling floral-printed scarf. At the other end of the room, occupying pride of place was a table laden with perfume. At the centre of that table was the dive of the moment, Thy Flora 1966, limited edition. Clad in black and yet surrounded by the colours of spring all around, we wondered whether black was a deliberate choice of packaging. A little patience later, we realised that once you peel off the package, a floral pouch presents itself, carrying the heady limited edition perfume.
So, why floral, you ask? It has a story. In 1966, Princess Grace, accompanied by her husband Rainier, Prince of Monaco, visited the Gucci’s Milan Via Montenapoleone store. Rodolfo Gucci decided to commission the most beautiful floral scarf imaginable for the Princess and asked the famous illustrator Vittorio Accornero to create an original design for her. This was how Flora was created: nine bouquets of flowers from the four seasons, with berries, butterflies, dragonflies and insects in a colourful illustration. Among the classics, Flora is an icon of continuity from the precious historical archives, which revives every season with its evocative and timeless graphic power. An image inspired by fairy tales and real life, which continues to be The 60s has now been ushered into a new millennium and reinvented in a myriad of variations, sometimes combined with other Gucci symbols like bamboo and the horsebit. No more is it only a scarf, it appears on suits, bags, accessories, jewellery, chinaware, and even gave rise to the name of one of the most famous perfumes created by the House.
In 2005, Frida Giannini, revived the Flora print for the Cruise collection—the new accessories were met with great admiration. Using her talent for reinvention, Frida then sent Flora out as print dresses for Spring 2006, along with floral jewellery and Flora band watches, reigniting the youthful femininity for which Flora has always stood. Flora was then reincarnated as a woman’s fragrance with Flora by Gucci in 2009 and the Flora Garden Collection, which launched in 2011.
How do you go about making the scarf ?
- We have to separate the colour of the pattern we are going to reproduce to produce the printing screen.
- We have to produce a printing screen for each colour to be printed. Once the films have been created we move on to the screen engraving process.
- This requires a photosensitive jelly to be spread on the cloth.
- At this point, the screen is put into the oven to prepare it for photoengraving. We apply the film on the screen.
- The screen is lit up with very strong UVA rays. The light penetrates only through the film’s non-printed areas, thus drying the jelly.
- Then, screens are washed to remove wet jelly. At the end of the process we shall clearly see that the screen has jelly-free areas.
- Colour will penetrate through these areas during the printing process. We print the paper proof once the pattern has been engraved.
- The result is identical to what we obtain on the fabric.
- With this process, we ascertain that there is no leakage (i.e. holes) and that the many screens/colours perfectly overlap (alignment). This procedure enables us to touch up/adjust the screens should the need arise before the production is launched.
- Printing is usually performed with the ‘table’ or ‘hand machine’ methods.
- Table printing requires fabric to be rolled out on tables, which are over 40-meters long.
- The first printing screen is prepared on a trolley, which moves along the entire length of the table.
- Colours are printed one at a time on the fabric length.
- Once all the colours are printed, the fabric is left on the table till the colours dry.
- Once the colour is dry, the fabric is removed from the table and placed in a machine, which thermally fixes the colour on the fabric with a combination of steam and heat.The fabric is washed after this operation to remove excess colour.
- Now we can proceed with the fabric’s finishing process.
- Finishing a product means making it dimensionally stable (non-stretch and non-shrink).
- Moreover, a combination of chemical and mechanical processes give the fabric a pleasant texture.
- At this point, the fabric has to be checked and tailored.
- Checking is performed with special machines and expert technicians.
- If the product meets the required quality standards, then we begin the finishing process.
- Our scarves are hemmed strictly by hand with an Italian hem.
- The Italian hem turns the hem from the right to the wrong side of the scarf.
- Quality control is performed after items are hemmed and labelled by highly specialised personnel who perform this operation on every item.
- Items that pass quality control are ironed, folded, tagged and enveloped.