Patricia Gucci Is Making Travel Chic Again
The leather goods scion—and designer of a luxe new luggage line—on hotel lighting, traveling with dogs, and how she found inspiration from a double-decker bus.
“Once upon a time, we used to travel in a way that was chic, glamorous, fun,” says Patricia Gucci, granddaughter of Guccio Gucci, namesake of the Italian fashion and leather goods brand. She would know, having grown up accompanying her father Aldo on business trips and later serving as Gucci’s roving ambassador. “You used to want to look good, and to carry a beautiful suitcase. Nowadays, it’s always back and forth, back and forth, back and forth,” she continues. “The generic carry-on has taken over our lives. Of course, I had one like everyone else, but I felt, Why can’t there be something more elegant?”
Enter Aviteur, her line of luxury roll-aboards, launched this fall during Paris Fashion Week and now available exclusively online and at Le Cabinet de Curiosités at Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, in Paris. Handcrafted in Italy—and considering her lineage, surprisingly logo-free—their interlaced Paglia di Vienna leather evokes straw suitcases of yore. Other features look firmly to the future, like the handle carved from a block of clear polycarbonate, which rises from the bag, sans buttons, like a ray of light. The patented, Tesla-inspired “silent wheels” are forged with aviation-grade aluminum; Gucci dreamed them up after reading that Venice had considered banning wheeled suitcases to counter noise pollution on its cobbled streets. The distinctively rounded shape comes from a more surprising source. “I didn’t want another boxy bag, but one with a softer, more sensual feel. One day I was in traffic on Piccadilly in London, right behind a double-decker bus. My partner and I looked and said, Gosh…”
The collection consists of a single carry-on in beige, black, or gray (priced at €4,350) and will soon expand with new colors, plus a weekend bag and leather accessories. In the meantime, Gucci took some time to chat with Rosewood Conversations about her life on the go.
Where was your very first trip, and how old were you?
My first trip was at 28 days old: I was born in London, and my mother wanted to go back to Rome. In those days, it was unheard of to travel with such a young baby. Since then, being on a plane is second nature to me.
What is your in-flight routine?
If it’s a short trip, there’s nothing really to do other than catch up on magazines—I’m old-school and still like them in print. On long trips, I always bring silicone earplugs; I’m a very light sleeper and need a complete noise block. And when I sleep, I put on a Holistic Silk Anti-Pollution Mask. It’s supposed to help you not breathe in anything that you don’t want to breathe in.
What do you never travel without?
I don’t really like airplane blankets, so I always carry a cashmere scarf. I went crazy buying them in India, so I have a nice collection. My eyesight is poor, so I need at least two pairs of reading glasses—I like to put one in my bag, one on my bedside table. And a magnifying mirror—when hotel bathrooms have them, the magnification is usually very minimal. Hotels in general don’t have great lighting. So I have this fantastic Simplehuman Magnifying Mirror that is as indispensable as my iPhone. That’s another thing that I can never forget. It comes in a travel case that unfolds into a fantastic lighted standup mirror. I showed it to my daughters and they said, “Oh my god, you see everything—things you don’t even want to see!” Yes, but it helps you put on your makeup really well.
What’s the one place in the world on the top of your wish list?
I would love to go to the Maldives, turn my phone off, and do absolutely nothing. It sounds like paradise.
If you could only visit one destination for the remainder of your life, what would it be?
I don’t think I could live anywhere but Switzerland or Italy at this stage in my life. Right now I’m in Switzerland. There’s order, laws, rules—I love that. You can jump in a car or train and within three hours you’re in Paris, Milan, London. And to drive to the mountains is inspirational. The air is clean; the quality of food is fantastic. I feel healthy here.
But Italy has most things that I love. I go there for work and for pleasure. My mother lives in Rome; I go on summer holidays to Porto Ercole. Italian food for me is the best. I work a lot with local factories, and most of them are family-owned, which is how it used to be with my father. There’s the human element that I love.
What’s a place that you’re ashamed to admit you haven’t been?
Some parts of Italy I haven’t been to, even though it’s my country. Like Sicily. Everyone’s like, “What?! You haven’t been?!” I’m dying to go, I just haven’t had time.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in a new destination?
Unpack, immediately, even if I’m cross-eyed with tiredness. I cannot just dump my bags—everything has to be put away properly.
What is your greatest travel extravagance?
Buying myself a first-class ticket just so I could quickly grab some British Airways tier points—because, you know, they expire.
Who’s your ideal travel companion?
My dog, Lola. She’s a Morkie—a Maltese-Yorkshire mix—and the love of my life. Having her the last few years has changed my way of traveling: It’s easier to drive with her or take a train, so I end up doing that more than flying. One day I’m going to design a dog bag; I’ve collected so many and never found one that I think is gorgeous and useful and easy, with unique features. So that’s down the line for Aviteur.