Each month we pick three things that have inspired us. From art, design and branding, to food, drink and beyond… Welcome to the November edition.

1. Gucci Cosmos - The Exhibition

Alex writes:

Gucci Cosmos is a mesmerising celebration of the ideas, artefacts and designs that have made Gucci one of the powerhouses of luxury fashion. Never has the saying, ‘the medium is the message’ been truer: through a series of ‘worlds’, the history of Gucci unfolds, brought to life with added wonder, intrigue and poetry courtesy of the brilliant Es Devlin, who envisioned and designed the exhibition.

As soon as you step into 180 Studios, you’re transported to an Art Decaux-styled lobby inspired by The Savoy Hotel in the 1920s. The lift to the exhibition is the ‘Ascending Room’ – a replica of London’s first lift, where Guccio Gucci began his career as a porter. The original lift, luxuriously decorated with carpet and seating, took seven minutes to ascend, giving Gucci unparalleled insight into the world of the Savoy’s well-heeled guests.

Progressing through the exhibition, each ‘world’ reveals new facets of the brand, enhanced by the thought-provoking added sparkle and creativity of Devlin’s presentation.

Gucci6 1

It reminded me that there’s so much to learn from luxury brands. Masters of commercial design, they are adept at blending artistry, creativity and storytelling to create desire and aspiration. Here are my two key takeouts:

  • Evolution from a core set of principles, ideals and graphic language is necessary to remain relevant. Gucci’s tangible and intangible codes - romance, allure, florality, equitation and the Diamante pattern – have all endured, despite continual reimagining as new creative directors take the helm.
  • Artistry and craftsmanship are the essence of luxury. Considering some of the problems we face today – for example dwindling resources, fast-fashion and AI anxiety – it seemed very poignant. I love the fact that Gucci made an asset out of mundane materials. The iconic bamboo bag handle came about because leather was in short supply in post-WW2 Italy.

Written on one of the walls: “Humble materials were made precious through craft”. It was a message that’s stuck with me and seems a fitting mantra for the times we live in…

Gucci Cosmos is on until 31st December at 180 Studios, London. Book tickets here.


2. Make My Money Matter: Oblivian starring Oblivia Coalmine

As tempted as we were to review the Christmas ads this month, (for the record, Apple is our favourite), we remain unswervingly traditionalist and will not be hitting play on Bublé or Mariah until 1st December.

Instead, with COP28 kicking off today, we thought we’d share a provocative ad starring Olivia Colman – renamed Oblivia Coalmine – as a sinister, latex-clad Big Oil Company CEO. It’s part of a campaign founded by filmmaker and activist, Richard Curtis, to help Make My Money Matter, (of which Curtis is also co-founder), raise awareness of the damaging links between the UK pensions industry and the climate emergency.

It's a very good point summed up by Danny Brook-Taylor from Lucky Generals who created the ad: “The cruel irony is that while we all save for the future, the pension companies are investing in industries that are actively destroying it.”

3. Nania's Vineyard

We recently discovered local urban vineyard and winery, Nania’s, which started life on an allotment in the heart of Bristol. Here are three things you need to know:

  • All the wines are classed as ‘natural wines’, allowing nature to take the lead with minimum intervention both in the vineyard and winemaking. Among other things, it means no or minimal use of pesticides, wild-yeast fermentation and keeping the wines unfiltered.
  • All the wines come in cans for convenience, recyclability and to reduce wastage. They’re also a brilliant canvas for the characterful artworks created by artist and illustrator, Alex Lucas of Lucas Antics. We encourage you to check out their work!
  • The current range consists of The Badger – a red wine of 60% Pinot Meunier and 40% Pinot Noir from Somerset, and The Fox – an orange wine made from Bacchus grapes from the Malvern Hills. The term ‘orange’ has nothing to do with the flavour – it means the juice from white grapes was left in contact with the skins, (which is how red wine is usually made). It often gives the wine an orange/amber colour, extra flavour complexity, and more weight and tannic structure. It’s fair to say, orange wines aren’t for everyone, but Nania’s is a brilliant introduction to the style and most definitely worth a try!
TC MM Nania