By Zainab Fattah www.businessweek.com
June 25 (Bloomberg) — Elisabetta Gucci’s plan to open a global chain of hotels under her name may be blocked by the luxury goods company founded by her great-grandfather.
The daughter of late fashion mogul Paolo Gucci, who designed the Italian brand’s trademark stirrup, plans to open an 87-suite property in Dubai’s Media World district by the end of the year, according to Lorens Ziller, managing director of her EG Hotels company. Branded EG Hotels by Elisabetta Gucci, it will showcase furniture designed by her and built by Formitalia.
“Elisabetta Gucci is doing her job,” Ziller said in a June 23 interview. “She cannot cancel her name or her background. If she has a famous name or a famous background, that’s not her fault and we are not trying to use it as much.”
The Dubai hotel will be the first of 40 to open across the world in the next 15 years, according to Ziller. Gucci’s partner is Baitek International Investment, owned by Saudi Arabian investor Abdulla Al Sayegh. The website of Elisabetta Gucci, born in 1952, states that she has no connection with the fashion house.
“Gucci wants to make clear that it has no relationship to Elisabetta Gucci Hotels and that it is not involved in any project whatsoever with Elisabetta Gucci Hotels,” the company said in the e-mail. “If necessary, Gucci will take any needful step to protect its rights.”
Ziller, contacted by Bloomberg today, said he spoke with Elisabetta Gucci the night before and she has no comment to make on the lawsuit at this time.
Italian fashion houses are opening branded accommodation in Dubai at a time when hotels have been hurt by a glut of rooms. Armani Group in April opened Armani Hotel Dubai in Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Palazzo Versace, a 213-room property incorporating the designer Gianni Versace SpA’s brand, is 60 percent complete, Arabian Business reported in March, citing developer Emirates Sunland Group.
EB Hotels is counting on drastically lower hotel rates than those charged at Armani Hotel, Ziller said. Daily rates at the Elisabetta Gucci’s hotel would start at 1,500 dirhams ($408) compared with 4,000 dirhams per night at Armani. A night’s stay at one of Armani’s 160-room hotel can cost as much as 40,000 dirhams.
PPR, then called Pinault-Printemps-Redoute SA, completed its $9 billion purchase of Gucci in 2004.
–With assistance by Heidi Couch in Dubai, Andrew Roberts in Paris and Sara Gay Forden in Milan. Editors: Ross Larsen, Andrew Blackman.
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