Alessandro Michele celebrates the history of Gucci in a poignant way, caressing the roots of the past in search of a new poetic.
Celebrating a birthday doesn’t simply mean paying homage to the past, almost a hundred years old in this case, but unlocking the doors to a new story and standing at the edge of the beginning.
Here we immerse ourselves in the long history of Gucci, impossible to encapsulate in a single act of inauguration if not in the ongoing series of interminable births and continual regenerations we have come to appreciate over time.
Beginning with its founder Guccio Gucci, a simple Italian emigrant who worked in some hotels in Paris and the Savoy in London, developing a marked sense of taste and style carrying suitcases and trunks to the rooms until his return to his hometown, Florence, where he opened a series of little shops selling leather goods, luggage and items for equitation.
He continued on to new stylistic heights further developing what were to become the cornerstones of the brand and that are still style icons today: the bamboo-handled bag, the horse-bit loafer, the Flora foulard and the GG logo used to adorn the hemp clothing renowned for its extreme resilience and used to for Gucci’s belts and bags.
Gucci’s is a heritage transformed into a workshop hacked, raided and transformed by the metamorphoses of the numerous designers who’ve been its elected artistic directors: from Tom Ford to Frida Giannini, and ultimately Alessandro Michele.
Six years ago with his first collection, the latter managed to cancel out that filial bond with the past by breathing new life into the brand, which still lasts today according to the customer satisfaction ratings.
With a profound knowledge of the brand, this designer rejected the concept of gender division and brought the genderfluid debate to the world stage, allowing everyone to mess with the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie and the codes of men’s tailoring.
The anxious expectations of a century past are renewed in the Aria collection through a short film, directed by Floria Sigismondi, which begins at the Savoy where Guccio Gucci worked as a porter. Inside, models walk a camera-lined runway toward a paparazzi pit before flinging open the doors of a darkened club onto a phantasmagorical idyll where they commune with each other in a garden populated by rabbits, horses and peacocks.
The references to this imaginary place pause on the anthropological implications of all that glitters, working on the resplendent capacity of the fabrics and celebrating the equestrian world transfigured into a fetish cosmogony, sublimating the figures and the glamour of old Hollywood.
The surprise in the surprise comes from the meshing of two creative minds like Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia (creative director of Balenciaga), both at the helm of their respective Houses since 2015, who came together to create the open windcheater over crystal top, the 80’s shoulder pads and sequin midi dress, the logoed leggings and the cape and jacket with Cristobal Balenciaga’s patent structure, all rethought, reworked and Gucci-fied.
Rock, punk, poetry and the neoclassical meld together in this collection designed to generate that constant vibration within us that projects us out into the world we are, with the renewed promise of life after this time suspended in isolation, and an escape from the reactionary cages of purity in search of a forbidden poetic.