Rumors had swirled for weeks prior to the show that Gucci was doing a collaboration with Balenciaga. Many people scoffed at the idea but yet everyone was eager with anticipation to see what that might look like. As it turns out, it wasn’t a collaboration but rather took the form of a ‘hack’ – a reinterpretation – or as Gucci artistic director, Alessandro Michelle, poetically describes as a graft.
This collection ‘ARIA’ marks the 100 year anniversary of Gucci and so what better than to reveal the codes of Gucci than by swapping its architecture to illustrate exactly what those are. Tom Ford, old Hollywood, equestrian influences, and his own romanticized version of Gucci are on full display in the 94 look collection.
This is an extremely pertinent post-modern twist of events that we could really go on at lengths about highlighting the relevance to contemporary culture. It is, after all, codes that inform the world around us from your Spotify playlist to the coronavirus vaccine to sampling culture to reappropriation.
We can’t put it more elegantly than Alessandro Michele so we include his thoughts and remarks below. Explore the full collection below. Images courtesy of Gucci.
Nature is a haunted house-but Art- is a house that tries to be haunted
– E. Dickinson
Here it comes, with the precision of a toll. This birthday. One hundred years have gone. One hundred Earth’s revolutions questioning the flow of time. One hundred spins around the Sun to get back to that spring, where everything was about to burgeon and refract. An important time that has to be celebrated.
Going through the hour when everything originated is a great responsibility for me, and a joyful privilege. It means being able to open the locks of history and linger over the edge of the beginning. It means soaking in that natal source to relive the dawn and the coming into view.
I wouldn’t like to sentimentalize a biography though. Gucci’s long history can’t be contained within a single inaugural act. As any other existence, its destiny is marked by a long series of “endless births” (M. Zambrano) and constant regenerations. In this persistent movement, life challenges the mystery of death. In this hunger for birth, we have learnt how to dwell the time.
Celebrating this birthday means to pay homage to the mother’s womb then, but also to the becoming other. The legacy, but also the possibility of its afterthought. Past, in fact, is not a motionless conveyance and a repetition of the immutable: it rather “necessarily involves the idea of movement. It is not a datum, it is a motion: it is the movement of variation of the heritage that entails processes of transformation” (M. Centanni).
Benjamin would say that to plan the future we need to change the past, tracking down, as it unfolds, energy reserves that potentially have further life. In my work, I caress the roots of the past to create unexpected inflorescences, carving the matter through grafting and pruning. I appeal to such ability to reinhabit what has already been given. And to the blending, the transitions, the fractures, the concatenations.
To escape the reactionary cages of purity, I pursue a poetics of the illegitimate. In this sense, Gucci becomes for me a hacking lab, made of incursions and metamorphoses. An alchemical factory of contaminations where everything connects to anything. A place where thefts and explosive reactions happen: a permanent generator of sparkles and unpredictable desires. On this occasion, then, I want to honour my filial affection betraying the legacy that was handed down to me. Because the promise of a never-ending birth is only renewed through an evolving capacity.
Crossing this threshold, I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford; I have lingered over the anthropological implications of what shines, working on the brightness of fabrics; I have celebrated the equestrian world of Gucci transfiguring it into a fetish cosmogony; I have sublimated Marilyn Monroe’s silhouette and old Hollywood’s glamour; I sabotaged the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie and the codes of men’s tailoring.
Here we are then, ready to celebrate, wearing our most glittering clothes. Preparations for the event are in full swing. We are eager to walk through the Savoy’s doors again, one century later: an immaginific topos in the history of Gucci. A very long corridor separates us from that astral and magic passage. The myth of foundation is reinhabited in the light of the present. We get into a club, neon lights and cameras, but we find out that the party we deserve doesn’t happen in the lobby of a London hotel of the 20s. It’s rather like a deep and ecstatic diving in everything we yearningly miss today: a feast of air. A jubilee of breath. So the idea of the party glorifies in the generating power of nature and in the breath of life that pervades it.
Breath is in fact what every living thing constantly generates, “it is the first name of being-in-the-world, it is the vibration through which everything opens up to life” (E. Coccia). It is a nativity that we honour in its oscillatory motion: “inhaling, that is letting the world get inside us, and exhaling, that is projecting ourselves in the world that we are” (E. Coccia). I therefore celebrate the air as a sacred principle of interpenetration, blending and connection: a principle of existence infused with the chemical enchantment of the leaves. To these creatures, my praise. To their being fragile and vulnerable. To their ability to renew and get back to life after winter has passed.