Even to the big, bold and progressive minds here, Greece’s decision to slap down a request by Italy’s luxury fashion house Gucci to hold a runway show on the Acropolis was largely anticipated.
What wasn’t, though, was the public’s response, leaving a country divided over whether Greeks should simply stick to conserving their iconic landmark as a beacon of western civilization, or start making a mint out of it, also.
Bureaucrats pick the former. In fact, they insist on it, using every opportunity – including the latest high-profile Gucci gig – to drive the message home.
So, on February 14 and no sooner than Greece’s council of esteemed antiquities and heritage management experts were called in the inner sanctums of the culture ministry to meet and review the Italian brand’s bid, a rejection had been issued.
The vote was unanimous. The ruling had been rendered rapidly. And what’s more, the culture minister rubberstamped the decision instantly, pulling the plug on any compromise deal that could have been reached with Gucci and its promise to inject state coffers with 2 million euros in much-needed cash to assist in the restoration of Greek antiquities.
“We are always open to financial support,” the culture ministry said in terse statement. “But the country’s dire financial situation does not constitute grounds on which the monument should be ceded.”
Debate over the decision took the country by storm. Social media sites clogged up with comments and posts. And mainstream…