Gucci unveils Gucci Cosmos, a cutting-edge exhibition celebrating its history that will travel the world

April 28, 2023

Gucci Cosmos

Gucci unveils Gucci Cosmos, a traveling exhibition exploring the brand's 102-year history. The exhibition begins its world tour in Shanghai from 28 April 2023 until 25 June.

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Gucci Cosmos Shanghai
Gucci Cosmos, Shanghai

Gucci Cosmos

Gucci Cosmos is a tribute to the House’s most iconic designs, symbols, products, and the exceptional talents of its designers and artisans. Gucci has been an iconic fashion house since its beginning in Florence, Italy, in 1921. Founded by Guccio Gucci, the brand has been a symbol of luxury, elegance, and innovation for the past one hundred years. The house's designs have provided a sense of timeless beauty to legions of devotees worldwide.

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Gucci Archive

The Gucci Archive is a repository of the House's many years of history, beginning with its founder. Since the brand's founding, his sons Aldo and Rodolfo have taken over its leadership, taking it to even greater heights of success and renown. Recently, the creative director position has been held by Tom Ford, Frida Giannini, and Alessandro Michele, who have all added their personal touch to this iconic Italian fashion house.

For this tremendous undertaking, Gucci invited British artist Es Devlin and curator Maria Luisa Frisa who created eight unique rooms to capture its history through a playful voyage.

The eight rooms are divided as follows:

Gucci Cosmos, Archivio room
Gucci Cosmos, Archivio room

Gucci Cosmos Worlds

    • World 1: Portals
      • Features three moving, carousels carrying examples of Gucci’s most exquisite luggage designs that tell intertwined creative stories across the decades
      • Eight multimedia dioramas inspired by cultural icons from Gucci’s past and present
      • Including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana, Princess of Wales, Global Brand Ambassadors Chris Lee, Ni Ni, Lu Han, and Xiao Zhan
      • An homage to the cinematic city of Rome and its ability to captivate the international jet set and Hollywood stars
    • World 2: Zoetrope
      • Visitors follow the Horsebit from its debut on loafers and a version redesigned in 1955
      • Explores subverted equestrianism’s traditional aristocratic practices to suggest more erotic possibilities,
      • Examples including a Tom Ford-designed riding crop and Horsebit black leather corsage by Alessandro Michele
    • World 3: Eden
      • Light-and mirror-filled circular space of ‘Eden’, Gucci’s ongoing relationship to the diversity and beauty of the biosphere
      • Symbolized in an installation of larger-than-life evocations of the flowers and insects featured in Vittorio Accornero de Testa's design for a silk scarf created for Princess Grace of Monaco
    • World 4: Two
      • Leaving the vibrancy of ‘Eden’, visitors face a pair of monumental 10-meter-tall white statues
      • Standing as if guarding the entrance to an ancient temple, they symbolize the House’s trail-blazing belief in unisex fashion and its ability to shift societal ideas and behavior
      • Projected onto the statues' ‘blank canvases’ in a loop are images of men’s and women’s suits from Gucci’s past and present
      • These include the celebrated red velvet suit created for both men and women by Tom Ford in 1996
      • One striking Frida Giannini-designed checked suit with cinched waists
      • Designs by Alessandro Michele, such as his sparklingly floral unisex versions from 2016 and one from his ‘Twinsburg’ collection, shown in 2022
    • World 5: Archivio
      • In a breathtaking space with a mirrored ceiling that creates a feeling of infinity, a series of maze-like corridors reminiscent of the Gucci Archive in Florence are lined with many cabinets and drawers
      • Some open to reveal their contents, others closed, half-open, or hidden behind frosted glass, as if holding back their creative secrets
      • The historic bags on display include five now considered modern yet timeless classics: the Bamboo 1947, the Jackie 1961, the Horsebit 1955, the Gucci Diana, and the Dionysus
    • World 6: Cabinet of Wonders
      • Three meters high, this stunning monolithic cube covered in deep red lacquer is filled with drawers and compartments that showcase the full breadth of the House’s design range
      • It contains everything from a Tom Ford 2001 collection look with a black leather bustier to a 2006 Frida Giannini golden evening gown to an idiosyncratic dress by Alessandro Michele from 2018
    • World 7: Carousel
      • In ‘Carousel’, a parade of 32 mannequins wearing Gucci clothing from the 1970s to the present day glide smoothly by
      • ‘Carousel’ opens up entirely new connections, like a dance across time, and underlines the House’s ongoing creative conversation with its heritage and modernity. 
    • World 8: Duomo
      • Two large-scale reproductions of Filippo Brunelleschi’s revolutionary 15th-century dome for Florence’s cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, one of which is inverted beneath the other, are reached along a suspended viewing platform
      • Inside, designs and patterns from Gucci’s past and present are projected onto the dome’s interior in an all-enveloping son-et-lumière experience

As a creative endeavour and expression of the times, the house and its history over the past century can be mapped through an ability to evolve and, more broadly, to expand on the mutability of our own consciousness and ability to make cognitive shifts. Rather like a garment itself that is able to be changed and re-tailored, like a shed skin that constantly renews itself.

Gucci Cosmos, Portals room

This project was an extraordinary opportunity for me to traverse the universe of Gucci once again and tell its story through the ever-different lens of the clothes, objects, elements, people, and contexts that have made the House an iconic trailblazer within fashion and collective visual culture for over a century. The Gucci Cosmos exhibition is an immersive experience in which the House’s origin story and its history are continuously put to the test by the imagination of the future.

28 April 2023 until 25 June

West Bund Artistic Center 西岸艺术中心