On the day President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris inaugurated in Washington, DC, Melania and Donald Trump withdrew from Air Force One in South Florida heading to the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
He was wearing a typically square suit of indeterminate origin. She was wearing an orange and blue Gucci caftan with bold designs of $ 3,700, which came so much symbolism as the famous “I really don’t care” jacket, which she wore in 2018 for a trip with the children to a border detention center in Texas.
Loose lines and orange hexagons resembling and David Hicks carpet, new clothes telegraphed the idea that Mrs. Trump was taking on a new role as a man in her spare time, seemingly careless. It was also a worldwide advertisement, whether unconscious or not, for a brand that has significant ties to Trump’s business.
For the past 14 years, Gucci has leased 48,667 feet at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, making it the building’s largest commercial tenant.
Other companies that leased space with Trumps reduced their premises or did not renew their leases. One of them is Nike, which switched off its own in 2018 Location Niketown at 6 East 57th Street – a building around the corner from the Trump Tower, to which the Trump organization has rented for 100 years – and opened a new flagship, the so-called House of Innovation, five blocks to the south. (Nike spokesperson refused Forbes’ address whether this step was political.)
In 2019, it is an industrial and commercial bank in China reduced his presence in Trump Tower. Tiffany, who temporarily took over Niketown in 2018 while renovating its flagship, is not renewing its lease next year, Bloomberg recently informed.
However, in 2020, Gucci renegotiated and extended its lease, according to two people who knew about the agreement, and both asked that their names not be used because they were not authorized to speak.
The luxury company received a rent reduction in exchange for agreeing to extend its lease beyond 2026. Trump Tower has retained a much-coveted tenant: a brand that has flourished since designer Alessandro Michele took over in 2015, whose presence in the building helps counter the idea. that its namesake is nothing more than a “poor man’s idea of a rich man,” in the words of Fran Lebowitz.
However, the players involved do not talk about it in public.
Four days after receiving a detailed list of questions about the agreement, a Gucci representative called to indicate that a statement was on the way within the hour. A little more than an hour later, the deputy called back to say that the statement would not come in the end.
Trump did not respond to two requests for comments.
One possible reason: According to the person who saw the new lease, Gucci demanded that the people in Trump’s organization sign confidentiality agreements regarding its terms.
Nevertheless, the agreement stood for trumps for reasons that go beyond symbolism.
During the coronavirus pandemic, a number of luxury brands inhabiting leading retailers in Manhattan were renegotiated at a time when traffic was slowing down. Others simply rented their premises. That was what Ralph Lauren did last November at Fifth Avenue, lease 28,300 square feet The Mango fast fashion retailer was $ 5 million for what the Real Deal reported – $ 22 million less than Ralph Lauren pays.
In recent years, revenue from “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s former reality show on NBC, has dried up. Debt repayments across the trump business are due. This turned the retail space in and around Trump Tower into a lifeline and became what Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner became. wrote in The New York Times last January he is probably the most reliable and “largest long-term producer of money” in his empire. “
AND submission with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012, which dealt with the finance of the Trump organization, described Gucci that in 2006 he took a 20-year lease. Gucci paid $ 384.40 per square foot each month. This represents an annual base rate of $ 18.7 million and represents approximately two-thirds of the total $ 29.53 million that the Trump Organization earns annually from its commercial tenants, according to the filing.
Regardless of Gucci’s discretion, it is far from clear that reports of renegotiation could affect sales. The fashion industry tends to be politically liberal, but sometimes business is just business and aesthetics prevail over politics.
Oscar de la Renta among the first ladies with diametrically different worldviews. James Galanos promised his allegiance to Nancy Reagan despite her husband’s catastrophic neglect of AIDS. In 2019Bernard Arnault, whose company LVMH is owned by Tiffany, joined Mr. Trump at the Louis Vuitton factory in Texas and posed with him for photographs.
However, Mr Trump’s contradictory behavior, especially since the start of the pandemic and the election, has strengthened activists’ determination to condemn him. Brands are more sensitive to the threat of a boycott than ever before. Companies including Nike and Twitter joined the Black Lives Matter movement.
Gucci’s latest incarnation was more racially inclusive than most top fashion brands.
Shortly after Mr. Michele became its chief designer and began to get rid of the haute and confidently snobbish aesthetics for an ironic reference style that could be described as Etsy Luxe, the company ran an advertising campaign with all Black models.
But it also made a mistake.
In 2017, a request was issued for the release of a jacket that looked remarkably like the one designed by Dapper Dan, aka Daniel Day, a black designer in Harlem, decades ago. In response, the brand turned to him, inserted it into an advertisement for men’s tailoring and collaborated with him. luxury boutique.
Soon after, she announced an initiative called Gucci’s balance, which aims in part to improve diversity and inclusion in society.
But in 2019, Gucci pulled out a $ 890 sweater criticized for evoking a blackface from the market. And its team leader, along with Kering’s parent company, is still dominated by whites (Kering has one Black board member).
Although the decision by Gucci executives to renew the 725 Fifth Avenue lease came before Confederate-flagged protesters attacked the Capitol in January, Mr Trump’s association with white racists in 2020 was hardly unknown, Kailee Scales said. Ms. Scales is a former executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global network and director of ThnkFree Global Strategies, a boutique company that leads brands such as Amazon and Sprite in marketing strategies involving social justice issues.
“It’s a time,” she said, “where brands, organizations and individuals around the world are counting on racial justice and trying to address and dismantle the systems that led us to witness one of the most terrifying moments in history – the murder of George Floyd. “
Subsequently, she said, it was a “special choice” for Gucci to continue to be intrinsically associated with a man who “apparently refused to give up white domination” and “build political equality by supporting racist conspiracy theories.”
Ms. Scales shared the views of Shannon Coulter, who launched the “Grab Your Wallet” campaign, which organized boycotts against SoulCycle and New balance after people with ownership interests in these companies spent large sums of money on Mr Trump’s campaigns.
In an interview, Ms. Coulter stated that she intentionally left Gucci and Nike off the boycott list. “We were quite generous because we knew they had signed leases before his campaign,” she said.
Gucci’s decision to rebuild in 2020 was something else entirely.
“It’s disgusting,” she said. “They’re basically trading with a white racist.” That is the decision. “
Nevertheless, few people directly involved in the fashion world seem to want to resolve a possible controversy. Editors such as Samira Nasr of Harper’s Bazaar, Nina Garcia of Elle and Anna Wintour of Vogue ranked as stewards of racial justice. But they also rely on Gucci in advertising. Representatives declined to comment on behalf of all of them. Mr Day did not reply to a request for comment.
Jeremy O. Harris, author of Slave Play, has had a contractual relationship with the house since November 2020. In general, such measures consist of wearing designer clothes at public appearances and then preserving them. “I’m proud of my relationship with them when I met people and saw them actually listening and trying to change,” he said in an interview last Friday. And “even though there are a few real estate magnates who have reached the level of a semi-fascist leader like Trump, as far as I know, they are all pretty much deeply compromised.”
Yet Harris admitted, “It’s complicated.”
Fortunately, he added, “I’m really only going to the Wooster Street store.”
Ben Protess and Vanessa Friedman contributed the news.