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On Tuesday, Gucci opened a new bookstore at their Wooster Street store, and in typical Alessandro Michele fashion, it is anything but ordinary. Inside, an extensive collection of rare and one-of-a-kind books spangles the dark wooden bookcases, with small piles of books left by browsers on the lectern-style reading tables and mustard leather couches. It’s a book lover’s lair.
Each offering was carefully selected by David Strettell—former cultural director of Magnum photos and founder of famed bookstore Dashwood Books in NoHo. David has stocked the store with about 2,000 books: contemporary, used, bespoke, and even a selection of niche magazines. Since the opening of the larger store last May, Gucci has worked hard to integrate into the neighborhood and celebrate its rich artistic past. Adjacent to the bookstore is their screening room which plays independent shorts and documentaries. A series of films focused on the cultural significance of SoHo in the 70s and 80s will roll out in the coming months.
In many ways, the opening of this bookstore comes at an opportune time with the holidays fast approaching. Although there are few gifts as unique as a thoughtfully chosen book, the bookstore is also connected to the main store, which is a mecca for awe-inspiring gifts. To get us in the giving spirit, we tapped David himself to shop the store for every loved one on his list. Below is his holiday shopping done all at once, all Gucci, at the SoHo store.
For My Brother-in-law: Studio Volta Photo by Sory Sanlé
"This is a great gift for anybody looking for an unusual book on African culture. It is an artist book by Sory Sanlé, a photographer from Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina-Faso, active mostly from 1960 to 1995, based on a selection of photographs made in his studio. It features risograph printing, spiral-bound, and Japanese binding and the cover and slipcase are silkscreened. Sanlé Sory’s portraits are key documents of the exuberant youth culture in Burkina Faso following the small West African nation’s independence from France. After learning to use a twin-lens Rolleiflex 6x6 camera and process prints, Sory opened his studio, Volta Photo, in 1960, the same year his country (then called Upper Volta) began its transition from remote colony to independent nation. He worked as a regional reporter, event photographer and record sleeve illustrator active in the city’s dynamic music scene. Most notably, however, Sory was one of Bobo-Dioulasso’s earliest and finest studio photographers."
For My Mum: The Map and the Territory by Luigi Ghirri
"My mum is really into Italian culture. She will appreciate Ghirri’s cool, slightly surreal landscapes in The Map and the Territory. Through the course of the 70s and 80s, Luigi Ghirri pursued his extraordinary project, open-ended and mercurial, marked by empathy for the changing everyday spaces of his time. Throughout his short career, Ghirri would produce a vast body of photographs without parallel in the Europe of his time and numerous writings which would have an indelible impact on the history of photography. This extensive book, compiled by the renowned British curator James Lingwood, accompanies a touring exhibition to three major museum venues across Europe and focuses on the first decade of Ghirri’s work, defined by his 1979 exhibition in Parma."
For My Sister: Italian Holidays by Claude Nori
"Fun in the sun on the Italian Riviera makes this book the perfect gift for my sister. Inspired by his travels and short trips along the Italian coastline with fellow photographer Luigi Ghirri in the late 70s, French photographer Claude Nori decided in 82 to make snapshots at Italian beaches. A fascinated and passionate observer, he was interested in capturing the annual rituals of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its leisurely pastimes."
For My Father: Khichdi Kitchari by Nick Sethi
"My father grew up in India and will appreciate this fresh take on the sub-continent. Taken over a ten year period, the photographs in Khichdi (Kitchari) explore India’s rapidly changing identity, focusing on gender, technology, and the balance of traditional Indian and western culture. Printed in New Delhi under the supervision of Sethi and designer Brian Lamotte, the book’s production draws upon the seemingly haphazard yet highly resourceful nature of a place where space and proximity lead to unexpected interactions. Materials are repurposed and recycled many times over. The locally sourced glossy paper contrasts with the roughness of the exposed spine and hand-painted edges, allowing the physical object to exist somewhere between a mass-produced product and a hand-crafted object. Initially a sensory overload, it unfolds into a complex web of ideas, involving the reader in the process of constant discovery and reexamination. Khichdi (Kitchari) is the first major monograph by Nick Sethi, an American-born photographer of Indian heritage living in New York City."
For My Niece: Gucci Dionysus Shoulder Bag
"She is turning 21 in December, so this will be a joint birthday/Christmas gift. She is from out west, rides horses, and loves all things Gucci, so I should be the popular uncle, at least for a while."
For My Daughter: Ophidia GG Medium Carry On Duffle
"She needs an overnight bag and loves the classic Gucci colors."
For My Wife: Embellished Slides
"I thought of these shoes for her because we are heading on vacation to Cartagena right after the holidays. I know she will love these to brighten up her wardrobe."