ciao bella! bianchi by gucci bicycle helmet

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about cap-like hats reminiscent of bicycle helmets that popped up on fashion runways for fall and spring. With the couture connection fresh in my mind, the new Bianchi by Gucci bicycle helmet (above) caught my eye.

This limited edition, offered in black or white polycarbonate, and available in two sizes, sports some pretty hot features. I love the Mystery Woman, or Mystery Man, visor that probably looks equally sexy when flipped up as when pulled down. And there’s a buttery sheen to those adjustable leather straps. The signature green/red/green Gucci stripe down the center? Elegant.

Of course the chic features of this collaboration between the Italian bicycle manufacturer Bianchi and the venerable Italian leather-goods maker come at a price.

$890, to be exact.

Sniff. For that, I’d expect a carbon fiber shell at minimum. But I quibble. The more options for attractive head protection that women and men who ride bicycles in the city can pick from, the merrier. At the least, don’t these novel offerings draw attention to cycling as a choice outside the realm of sport?

Perhaps not coincidentally, I read an article in The New York Times late last week about the recent boom in sales of high-end cosmetics and skin care products. It noted that Tom Ford, the former creative director of (tada!) Gucci, has introduced a $40 lipstick. Expensive products like his tout both improved appearance and therapeutic benefits, leading one industry expert to label them “pragmatic luxuries.”

Beauty plus protection. I guess “pragmatic luxury” might be the category into which one could place this helmet — with a wink.

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