Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini and Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco have publicly acknowledged their romantic relationship for the first time.
The Gucci colleagues became involved in June 2009. At the time, both told Francois-Henri Pinault about their out-of-office involvement and told the chief executive of Gucci parent company PPR that they were prepared to leave. A ‘very supportive’ Pinault said he didn’t consider that necessary.
‘This is a family business—it was started by my father, and I know how that can feel and seem to the outside world, but I also know how much that makes you be strict with yourself,’ Pinault told the Financial Times, which broke the news. ‘And I knew them, so I knew if anything this would make them more demanding with themselves.’
Even after receiving Pinault’s blessing, Giannini and di Marco remained discreet out of concern over the reaction of Gucci shareholders and the financial market. Among an inner circle of Gucci employees, the relationship became ‘the secret that everyone knows,’ Giannini said.
‘You don’t want to leave the door open for any criticism,’ she explained. ‘There was transparency, but it was not universal; it was logical. Now there will be more. But that doesn’t mean that Patrizio and I will start to kiss in a meeting.’
Di Marco said that the couple decided to come forward now based on the company’s strong performance and the obvious seriousness of the relationship. ‘[T]he relationship Frida and I have is very serious. When in life you choose someone to be with... someone you are looking to spend your life with—well, this is a match of minds and souls.’
If anything, the open channels of communication between the company’s two highest-level employees is beneficial to Gucci, he explained.
‘You don’t really have to wait to take a meeting.’