Conceived by Creative Director Frida Giannini, the new collection – symbolized by the iconic Gucci teddy bear – is divided into two age ranges from 0 to 2 years and 2 to 8 years and will commence with the Spring/Summer 2011 season. The product categories include apparel, shoes, small leather goods, footwear (up to size 33) and selected accessories, including jewelry, sunglasses, scarves and blankets.

The children’s collection launch marks six years of Gucci’s corporate partnership with UNICEF that has helped to raise more than US Dollars 8 million to date. Gucci is making a ‘Forever Now’ commitment to UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ program with a pledge of USD 1 million . ‘Schools for Africa’ aims to ncrease access to quality basic education for all children, with a special emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged. This new donation follows on from Gucci’s successful annual Holiday campaigns on behalf of UNICEF, the latest of which in 2009 raised more than US Dollars 1 million through sales of a collection of products designed by Frida Giannini, inspired by Michael Roberts’ Snowman in Africa children’s book.

Patrizio di Marco, President and CEO of Gucci, commented: “We know that Gucci’s collaboration with UNICEF has helped produce significant results for children in the last five years, thanks ultimately to the interest and enthusiasm of our customers. We are proud of what has been achieved so far and are committed to ensuring that this partnership continues to be the foundation for our social investments worldwide. We truly believe that education is one of the most important and lasting investments for all children.” “Today the world’s leading brands” – continued di Marco – “are rightly judged not just on the quality of their products and services, but also on the way they responsibly act in the community and towards the environment. And the strengthening of the relationship with UNICEF is a fundamental part of our DNA.”

The new children’s collection embodies the Gucci spirit, but will not directly reflect the seasonal women’s and men’s collections, although some of the House’s best known icons will be present in the collection as a tribute to the House’s rich heritage. Consistent with the values of the brand, the products will be entirely Made in Italy, exclusively produced by Gucci suppliers and realized with the same high standards of quality and craftsmanship for which Gucci has become renowned. Gucci children’s eyewear will be manufactured and distributed under license by Safilo.

Frida Giannini, Gucci Creative Director, said “I am especially proud of this collection not only for the new creative challenge and would like to use the opportunity of this launch to reinforce Gucci’s commitment to UNICEF by making a USD 1 million pledge for the many children they serve. I visited Malawi last November and saw the difficult situation children face in sub-Saharan Africa where every third child doesn’t get the chance to go to school. I saw that UNICEF’s Schools for Africa program is successfully giving more children access to a good education, providing a start in life that so many of us take for granted.” Giannini continued, “I also understood even more the importance of getting involved and helping to raise awareness. My hope is that through this new donation we can together touch upon many more lives.”

The Gucci children’s collection will be available worldwide from November 2010 through Gucci’s own direct store network, gucci.com and selected specialty and department stores.

The collection’s official consumer launch will be celebrated with a global children’s tea party in Gucci’s worldwide flagship stores in November.

“We thank Gucci for this generous donation and their on-going commitment to UNICEF. Gucci is an important donor to the Schools for Africa programme which aims to transform children’s lives through education in sub-Saharan Africa” said Nichole Brown, UNICEF Chief of Corporate and Foundation Fundraising. “It’s important to remember that every donation translates into real differences in children’s lives. When you invest in education the results not only impact children today but also future generations””

GUCCI UNICEF PARTNERSHIP HISTORY
Since the Gucci/UNICEF partnership began in 2005, Gucci has committed over USD $8 million to UNICEF to support education, healthcare, protection and clean water programs for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, where over 11 million children have lost one or both parents to the disease. This significant sum is a testament to the increased scale and scope of the company’s support over this five-year period, and has resulted in Gucci’s current status as the largest corporate donor to UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ campaign.
The annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF has consistently supported life-saving treatment, care and prevention programs for orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi and Mozambique, where nearly 1 million children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Over time, the campaign – the most extensive philanthropic partnership in Gucci’s history – has developed to focus on education and UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ program, which aims to increase access to quality basic education for all children, with a special emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged – girls, orphans, children living in extreme poverty and other vulnerable children. ‘Schools for Africa’ is a joint campaign founded in 2004 by UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society.

Funds from the first five years of the Gucci campaign are supporting important UNICEF programs, including:
Constructing new classrooms through the ‘Schools for Africa’ program
Increasing the number of Child-Friendly Schools
Equipping schools with proper water and sanitation facilities for girls and boys
Communication and implementation of health, nutrition and hygiene programs
Supporting HIV-positive children through Community-Based Child Care Centers.