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By Diane Small
Britain’s iconic Chelsea Flower Show, which opens next week, has gone high fashion after Gucci unveiled its whimsical garden inspired by its classic Flora motif.
Designed by Sarah Eberle, the Gucci Flora Garden includes many of the varieties immortalised in the print, which made its debut in 1966 on a silk scarf.
The gardens were commissioned by Rodolfo Gucci, one of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci’s four sons, and the Flora colours and design have both royal and botanical connotations: after having visited Gucci to make a purchase, Rodolfo asked the royal what else she would like as a gift. When she replied ‘a scarf’, Rodolfo then commissioned artist Vittorio Accornero to create a floral pattern for the silk piece, which he then presented to the Princess, much to her delight.
Accornero’s design included a riot of naturalistic flowers, fruit and insects, all dedicated to the four seasons. It’s a design that’s endured throughout the decades, and is a favourite of artistic director Frida Gianni, who said: “When I first joined Gucci, I immediately asked to see the archive, and it was there that I rediscovered the Flora pattern. I remember chic women – my mother and grandmother among them – wearing Flora scarves in the 70s, and I’ve always been fascinated by the story behind the design and how it was created for Princess Grace.”
If you would like to own one of the silk scarf patterns created for Princess Grace, you’ll have to find a fantastic vintage clothing dealer, as these are no longer available. However, on the bright side, the brand has a jewellery line with botanical Flora designs, and has recently launched a new version of its iconic Lady Lock bag featuring the canvas print.
First introduced in 1947, the bag is eco-friendly as it’s comprised of ethical leather and canvas, with a trademark bamboo handle handmade for Gucci by artisans based in Florence.
If you can’t make it to the Chelsea flower show to see the real blossoms in the Gucci garden, the Lady Lock Flora bag is a perfect way to capture all the colours of spring in bloom.