Patricia Gucci spends a lot of time in airports, so much in fact that she considers her carry-on every bit as essential as her briefcase and handbag.
A Gucci Takes Flight
Patricia Gucci’s Aviteur Carry-On Is All About Functional Fashion
So Gucci, the only granddaughter of Guccio Gucci, founder of the brand that bears his name, was surprised that she couldn’t find a line of luxury luggage to suit her style.
“The luggage one sees is fairly generic with no real personality,” says the 57-year-old Gucci, who is based in Geneva and logs frequent trans-Atlantic flights, typically from London to New York or Los Angeles. “There are utilitarian brands at one end of the market and the big fashion houses at the other.” Aviteur, the new carry-on she created, is meant to function fashionably. The bag, whose ergonomic shape was inspired by London’s double-decker bus, is made of reflective polycarbonate panels typically used in the aviation industry. They are covered with woven leather that conjures up the cane luggage of the 1950s and ’60s.
Gucci says she “wanted something cutting-edge. When you arrive home, you don’t feel like you immediately have to stow it away.”
The carry-ons, which retail for $4,950 and are available in bespoke colorways, are designed to last a lifetime.
“Aviteur reflects an ethos of making products by hand with meticulous attention to detail,” she says. “‘Quality is remembered long after price has been forgotten,’ my father was quoted as saying—a principle I have adopted for my own creations.”
The attention to detail starts with the name: Aviteur, which incorporates the initials of Gucci’s daughters, Alexandra, Victoria, and Isabella, is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird, and voyageur, the French word for traveler.
The carry-ons, which are handcrafted in Italy by master artisans, feature leather woven in the Paglia di Vienna pattern, a buttonless patent-pending handle carved from a solid block of translucent polycarbonate that Gucci says “emerges from the case like a ray of light,” and wheels with air chambers that allow them to move silently through airports and city streets.
“The patented ‘silent wheels’ were developed by a Venetian firm following a city ordinance banning the use of carry-ons due to noise pollution,” she says. “I’m not aware of any other luggage brands that have this feature.”
The carry-ons, which may be monogrammed, are lined with ubersoft, suedelike Alcantara, a synthetic textile that typically is used in automotive installations, and feature hidden compartments ideal for valuables or accessories. Each comes with a neoprene cover to protect it in the event it is checked in at the airport. There’s also an identifying serial number engraved on the handle. There’s one significant design element that is conspicuously absent: a logo.
“We live in a logo-intensive world,” Gucci says. “It’s too much and too impersonal in my opinion. I wanted the design, materials, and handmade qualities to be the defining features of our products.” Gucci says Aviteur’s carry-ons reflect her own personality. “I would say there is a combination of discretion, individualism, and an element of surprise”—and they are designed to make travel not only more stylish but also more fun.
“I wanted to play a part in eliminating the humdrum of travel in today’s world, to develop something more luxurious that both men and women could feel more of an attachment to,” she says, adding that her experiences date to the days of the Concorde, when she was brand ambassador for Gucci in the 1980s and she and her father, Aldo Gucci, flew together. “I remember being excited to board a plane, people made an effort to look good from head to toe, and I wanted to bring back a time when travel had a certain elegance.”
Aviteur, which debuted at Le Cabinet de Curiosités in the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, soon will include matching travel bags that complement the carry-ons as well as several smaller accessories.
For now, there are no plans for handbags, she says. Gucci adds that when she’s rolling her Aviteur silently through airports, fellow fliers are apt to do a double take.
“I’ve noticed people glancing at the handle with a stupefied expression. They’ve never seen anything like it.”