Gucci is making its way to Dubai and its not in the form of a boutique or specialized handbag, but as a luxury hotel. Elisabetta Gucci Hotels, a company led by the daughter of esteemed designer Paolo Gucci, plans to open its first hotel in Dubai’s media world by the end of the year. The only catch is that current owner of Gucci, luxury conglomerate PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), is trying to stop her.
The hotel will be branded under the Elisabetta Gucci name and will feature furniture designed by her and built by Formitalia. Her partner in the region is Baitek International Investment, owned by Saudi Arabian investor Abdulla Al Sayegh. But there’s more, Elisabetta plans to open 40 hotels over the next 15 years with China being the next development after Dubai. However, at the end of June PPR, who purchased Gucci for $9 billion in 2004, filed a lawsuit against her and her partners “For seeking an injunctive relief in order to protect its rights,” said the Gucci Group in an emailed-response to questions from Bloomberg news.
The hotel company is not affiliated to the fashion brand. The fourth generation of the fashion family, Elisabetta Gucci is a furniture and interior designer as well as artistic director of Formitalia Luxury Group. “Elisabetta Gucci is doing her job. She cannot cancel her name or her background. If she has a famous name or a famous background, that’s not her fault and we are not trying to use it as much,” said Lorens Ziller, managing director of EG hotels in an interview with Bloomberg. Gucci’s website states that she has no connection with the fashion house.
The EG hotel has stated that it plans to offer lower rates than the newly opened Armani Hotel. Daily rates will begin at 1,500 AED ($408) compared to Armani’s price of 4,000 AED per night.
Dubai can rejoice for yet another edition to its burgeoning landscape of luxury designer hotels. Yet in light of the current controversy over the protection of the Gucci name, we must ask ourselves how far should a luxury brand go in order to conserve its name, image and heritage, especially if one’s namesake also shares in that heritage?