Gucci's Ode to Stanley Kubrick and Cinema
From inviting visitors to step inside Gucci campaigns at the brand's art space in Florence, to laying on a digital film festival during lockdown, the medium of film is close to Gucci and artistic director Alessandro Michele's heart. Over the past eight years of helming the Florentine label, Michele has collaborated with filmmakers including Gia Coppola and Gus Van Sant, using moving image to expand upon the eclectic, mind-bending worlds Michele is known for creating. His runway collections, a menagerie of sartorial codes crossing time and gender, are cinematic acts of their very own. Just take the brand's most recent Exquisite Gucci collection, for example. First unveiled in Milan earlier this year, an adidas collaboration shift tailoring and even a Victorian gown into the realms of modern sportswear. Now, the collection enters the Stanley Kubrick universe for the ultimate marriage of fashion and cinema.
In a rare turn of events, we received a press release made up of a full blown statement from Michele themself. So, we'll leave it up to them to explain this ingenious meeting of minds.
'I’ve always been charmed by cinema. For its power to tell stories that can probe human adventure and its drift...I could never imagine clothes as severed from the story and life of the person wearing them. If you ask me, a garment is not, and never will be, just a piece of fabric. It’s rather the means through which we are able to unfold who we really decide to be, it’s how we shape our desires and the ultimate sense of our staying. That’s why I’ve always imagined my collections as films able to convey a cinematography of the present: a score of stories, eclectic and dissonant, that can sacralize the human and its metamorphic ability.'
'The Exquisite campaign is my tribute to cinema and to one of its brightest maestros, Stanley Kubrick. A philosophic filmmaker who, better than others, emanated the magic of that inextricable knot through which cinema exudes life and magnifies it. I’ve always admired Kubrick’s remarkable capacity in tackling very different subjects. His experimental drive goes beyond any possible categorization. Every film, in fact, digests the manifold souls where dystopia meets parody, drama becomes human comedy, horror looks like a psycho-philosophic treatise, the feeling of truth evolves into the uncanny. Kubrick was, in essence, a real sculptor of genres: the “cross-genre” director, ahead of his time. His ability to build stories that exceed significance, crossing borders and setting labels on fire, has always been deeply inspiring to me.
As an act of love, I decided to reinhabit Kubrick’s films, pushing to the core this incendiary approach. I took the liberty of disassembling, blending, grafting and reassembling them. Sticking to my creative praxis, I seized those movies, resemanticizing them, populating them with my clothes.'
'Trying to create short circuits where the adidas gown, that had already lost its status of sportswear to become a Victorian costume, appears as a new character in the script of Barry Lyndon. The dress designed by Laura Whitcomb, wearing which Madonna grabbed the New York spotlight in the nineties, fits in the gothic scenes of The Shining. The mysterious darkness of the enigmatic ritual of Eyes Wide Shut embraces a Venus in fur, embellished with sensual bourgeois pearls. And more, the 90s shoes with a fetish flavour explode through the frames of A Clockwork Orange. Finally, the dreamiest evening dress dangled in soft tulle ruches bursts into the aseptic and dystopian space of the Discovery One in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This situationist game mixes historical plans, references, experiences. The past explodes into the present. Everything can become anything, or something else. As in that famous scene of Kubrick’s masterpiece, where the bone turns into a spaceship. As in life.'
'Manipulating his [Kubrick's] images, inside a brand new semantic framework, is like hacking La Gioconda. Plus the inspiration and the empathy only possible through the fictional cinematographic machine. This involvement generates a change of state that is very significant for my job: clothes get closer to bare life again. They turn into highly imaginative functional prosthesis, and they do so to tell a story. A story that shatters, enchants, tortures, ignites. Because it’s the story of the human that dwells in each and every one of us. As Stanley Kubrick knew too well. And also Milena Canonero, a very dear friend of mine, who accepted my invitation to go back over some of the scenes that hailed her as undisputed star in the history of costume design. Her presence in this project is moving for me, a very precious gift.'
Creative Director: Alessandro Michele
Art Director: Christopher Simmonds
Photographers & Directors: Mert & Marcus
Make up: Thomas De Kluyver
Hair: Paul Hanlon
'With thanks to University of the Arts London, home of the Stanley Kubrick Archive, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and the Stanley Kubrick Film Archives.’
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, EYES WIDE SHUT, THE SHINING and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s22)