2021 marks Gucci’s 100th anniversary, and creative director Alessandro Michele celebrates the event with his new “Aria” collection via a 20-minute film co-directed by himself and award-winning photographer and director Floria Sigismondi that brought viewers to The Savoy in London, at least in spirit, where brand founder Guccio Gucci was once employed as a bellboy.
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Set to a bouncing soundtrack that surfed the brand’s hip-hop mentions, including Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang”, Rick Ross’ “Green Gucci Suit” and Bhad Bhabie’s “Gucci Flip Flops”, as a piece of entertainment, “Aria” is a celebration of that milestone and not unexpectedly, it reexamines the house’s history and heritage. Michele picked up on Gucci’s equestrian codes, giving them a fetishistic spin, with a series of kinky leather harnesses, monogram riding boots, leather jodhpurs and luxe jockey helmets. He also reprised one of Tom Ford’s greatest hits, the red velvet tuxedo from fall 1996 that Michele said “made Gwyneth Paltrow famous”, with tweaks including new, more pronounced shoulders, a leather harness, and versions for both men and women.
“I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford”, Michele wrote in his show notes. “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”.
More surprising were the pieces that Michele “hacked” from Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga, another brand in the Kering stable. Several jackets, tailored with sharp shoulders and a nipped waist now synonymous with Gvasalia’s work, were emblazoned with the Balenciaga logo. A long coat, similarly tailored, mashed up Gucci’s double-G monogram with Balenciaga branding. A hefty chain necklace spelled out “BALENCIAGA” in gold charm letters, the “G” represented by Gucci’s interlocking ‘’G’’ logo.
The throwbacks in the collection continue, from new iterations of the 1947 Bamboo bag to the gorgeous sheer blush lace and feather gown revealing a bra and thong underneath that seemed a tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress from 1962. It’s clear that Michele knows how to properly celebrate and elevate the brand to newer heights, while never letting go of the distinct elements that make a brand like Gucci forever iconic.
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