Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Gucci's Cyborg Operating Room

Regular readers know that I always cover the men's fashion season every winter and summer, starting with London Fashion Week, going down to Italy, and then ending in Paris. But I just have to share the recent Gucci runway show at Milan Fashion Week for women (which showed looks for men as well, something more and more designers are doing...and I have mixed feelings about combining the men's and women's shows, but that is for another post). Designer Alessandro Michele has been at the creative helm of Gucci since 2015 and has taken the luxury brand in a totally different, eclectic, quite quirky direction. Collections look like gender-fluid teens raided the closets of grandparents and came out with a crazy patchwork mix of 70s and 80s fashion, with some global influences thrown in for good measure--a look that Michele calls "attic chic." "Gucci has revolutionised its identity," says Justin O’Shea (previously here), buying director for e-commerce fashion brand MyTheresa. "It sounds easy saying it, but to actually achieve this is one of the most remarkable fashion moments in history. And the best part about it is that it was done with beauty and innocent, unbridled conviction."

But for the most recent Gucci Fall-Winter 2018 show, Michele worked with the ideas of post-humanism, trans-humanism, fantasy, and hybridisation. The show was set in a sterile and well-lit operating theater, a metaphor for how people today construct their identities—a population undergoing self-regeneration through the powers of tech, Hollywood, Instagram, and Gucci. "We are the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives," said Michele. "There’s a clinical clarity about what I am doing. I was thinking of a space that represents the creative act. I wanted to represent the lab I have in my head. It’s physical work, like a surgeon’s."

For this collection titled "Cyborg" (Michele says the reference had been taken from his reading of the feminist philosopher Donna Haraway’s 1984 "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century"), models walked down the runway with exotic animals like snakes, and geckos...as well as a mythical baby dragon. Other models carried frighteningly realistic replicas of their own heads and one had a literal third eye on her forehead. These special effects were made and implemented by Makinarium, a Rome-based visual effects factory that has created effects for the likes of film directors Ridley Scott and Danny Boyle.


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