An umbrella created as part of a collaboration between Gucci and Adidas has met with a storm of criticism in China, where social media users have derided its inability to keep its owner dry.
Chinese consumers are calling out the fact that the item, priced at 11,000 yuan (£1,311) and not yet available, does not perform the basic function a user might expect.
Called a “sun umbrella” on Gucci’s website, the piece from the upcoming Adidas x Gucci collection comes with a warning that it is “not waterproof and is meant for sun protection or decorative use”.
The accessory has been mocked on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, with the BBC reporting that one user called it “a very big but useless fashion statement”, while another wrote: “As long as I’m poor, they won’t be able to trick me into paying for this.”
Twitter has seen its share of scorn too. “Imagine buying a $1,600 umbrella as a status symbol, discovering it doesn’t stop rain, then finding out it was never intended to work in the first place,” tweeted one user.
In comments to Beijing magazine Caijing, Gucci said the item was “not recommended for use as an everyday umbrella” and it has “good collector’s value and is suitable for use as a daily accessory”.
There clearly remains a market for an item that is less about practicality and more about making a fashion statement. On Gucci’s UK website, there is a waiting list for the umbrella, where it is priced at a slightly cheaper £870.
Gucci continues to be a superstar of the high-end fashion industry. Hierdie week, the brand staged a fashion show in a 13th-century castle in Puglia, southern Italy, flying in editors and influencers from all over the world for an event designed to align the showcase of its collection with the lunar eclipse.
Until recently, it has been a success in China, which is forecast to be the biggest market for luxury goods by 2025. Analysts Daxue Consulting judge Gucci to be the fourth most popular luxury brand in the country, after Chanel, Dior and Hermès. The Chinese market has been key to Gucci’s exponential growth since Alessandro Michele became the creative director in 2015.
Lockdowns in China over the past few months, as part of the country’s stringent anti-Covid measures, have directly affected sales figures during the first quarter of 2022. In April, it revealed its sales had risen by 13% as opposed to the 19% predicted by analysts, and the share price of parent company Kering subsequently fell.