Greece Rejects Gucci’s Request to Use Ancient Site for Runway Show

Greece also said 'No' to an offer to help fund the site's restoration.

Greece’s culture ministry has rejected a request by Italian luxury brand Gucci to use the ancient Acropolis for a fashion event this June.

The Acropolis is a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization. Regarding the Italian luxury house’s request, Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) stated: “The unique cultural character of the Acropolis monuments is inconsistent with this sort of event.”

“The Parthenon is an important monument and a universal symbol for us Greeks to protect, particularly in light of our ongoing efforts to reunite the Parthenon Marbles,” said Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou regarding the ruling.

“We have a duty to defend the importance of [the Acropolis]…a global symbol of democracy and freedom,” she stressed.

Gucci had anticipated spanning a catwalk from the Parthenon and the Erechtheion for a 15-minute show with an expected audience of around 300 guests. In return, the English-language Greek daily Ekathimerini reports that the fashion brand offered to present a €2 million subsidy for restoration work on the site over a span of five years, or for funding for a similar project.

The fashion house was able to secure England’s Westminster Abbey for a runway show last year. And to be fair, fashion shows at UNESCO World Heritage sites are not unheard of: Last year, for its 80th anniversary, luxury fashion brand Fendi staged a breathtaking show at Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain, whose $2.2 million restoration the Roman brand helped fund.

Requests for commercial use of Greek ancient monuments are often denied. The Acropolis, however, has been approved for access in the past. Business of Fashion points out that singer Jennifer Lopez held a 2008 photo shoot there, and the 2014 film “The Two Faces of January” starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst shot some scenes on its premises.

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