At the Gucci Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a significant moment took place. Jean-François Palus, Gucci’s president and CEO, expressed his aspiration to disseminate joy and beauty throughout Milan with the tree’s festive decoration. This festive intent, however, clashed with the actions of a protest group named Ultima Generazione (Last Generation).
Climate Activists Target Gucci Christmas Tree in Milan
On Friday, Ultima Generazione activists hurled buckets of orange paint onto the tree, drawing attention and heckles from bystanders until the police intervened. The incident was captured in a video posted online by Italy’s Corriere della Sera.
The fashion house Gucci presented a unique Christmas tree inside Milan’s iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, featuring an installation of 78 gift boxes. Each box was sealed with Gucci’s signature Horsebit buckle, showcasing the brand’s distinctive approach to festive decoration.
The activists’ demonstration was focused on drawing attention to their “Fondo Riparazione” campaign. This campaign advocates for a 20-billion-euro government fund to mitigate the damages caused by climate change.
The activists specifically targeted Gucci for its role in promoting luxury consumerism, noting that the brand donates only a small fraction of its earnings to charity. They viewed the Christmas tree as a symbol of an unsustainable lifestyle and rampant consumerism. Consequently, they proposed that the space in the Galleria should be utilized for social or educational initiatives instead.
Climate Activists Smear Gucci-sponsored Christmas Tree In Milan. pic.twitter.com/ibm0sqHF3y— John. Jr (@Jr17Jfk) December 30, 2023
Response from Gucci
The following day, Gucci responded by choosing not to remove the orange paint from the tree. In a statement to WWD , the company emphasized its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, using the incident for collective reflection rather than immediately rectifying the vandalism. Gucci highlighted its dedication to dialogue and raising community awareness, condemning the act but opting for a thoughtful response.
Gucci took over from Swarovski as the sponsor of Milan’s Christmas tree, introducing a design that included 78 gift boxes. These boxes, decorated with the brand’s iconic Horsebit buckle in white and silver tones, were crowned with the distinctive Gucci logo. Some materials from the installation were planned to be donated to ForMattArt, a cultural association promoting social solidarity and education.
Gucci’s involvement extended beyond the tree as part of a broader initiative to promote beauty and enhance the semi-peripheral areas of Milan. The brand partnered with ForMattArt in a collaborative effort to enhance the Corvetto neighborhood. They committed to lighting up key areas and decorating the entrances of three primary schools in the district. This initiative was unveiled on World Children’s Day and involved more than just lighting and decoration. It also included artistic workshops where children could create school decorations focused on the theme of children’s and adolescents’ rights.
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