My idea for Gucci was crazy, but that's the only idea I had.
The world of high fashion could never exist without commercial advertising. It insatiably feeds on magazines, posters, highway billboards, television, and all other forms of advertising media. Department stores and apparel boutique window displays quench palpably for fashion modes that could attract passersby irresistibly to the visual artistry that these caged windows strive to radiate. In effect, the fashion of the future no longer rests on fabric, form and color alone. It has traversed beyond the orthodox perimeters of style into a canvas of art in itself. Therefore, looking at magazine ads, billboard and store window displays, and watching TV commercials is like studying a frame of a painting, illustration, or animation.
Gucci has always been at the apex of artistic fashion advertising. We have seen the Italian brand emerge vivaciously from the screen and publication in multifarious themes—from grotesque, chic, and psychedelic landscapes, to pop art, retro, and sometimes, unimaginable visions of fantasy.
The Gucci Garden in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy offers a creative and state-of-the-art contribution to Italian art. Conceptualized by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who rather refers to himself as an “art archaeologist” or “historicist of garments”, the boutique with a gallery, bookstore and restaurant, focuses on “adornment and embellishment used over the centuries, that brings a kaleidoscopic mix of times and cultures” into fashion as art.
Such was the Gucci Garden Archetypes showcase that was presented at Warehouse Terrada, Tokyo last October. It exhibited an explosive culmination of the House's commercial campaigns over the last six years as aesthetically woven by Michele. As archetypes, the immersive and multi-sensory spaces opened the curious eyes of the viewers to “art and music, modern metropolises and utopian worlds, where the border between past, present and future, and between history and mythology, continues to move.” The rhythmical rooms ensued curious sensations of setting on a journey through timeless moments, perhaps back to Florence where Guccio Gucci founded the Maison one hundred years ago.
In the space highlighting Gucci’s Spring-Summer 2020 campaign, Of Course a Horse depicted an installation of a horse’s long tail attached to suspended gloves, bags, boots, and other accessories. The horse is viewed as a perennial companion of humans. Simultaneously, it embodies all human traits—sensitivity, confidence, charisma, intelligence, gentility, and most importantly, freedom.
The Urban Romanticism Fall-Winter 2015 campaign room conveyed a quite intriguing message of contemporary life. The scene takes place at Union Station in Los Angeles, where a model waits inside a train. She appears statue-like and immaculate, yet stands in an unburdened, sophisticated style. She becomes a symbol of contradiction between high-pitched glamor and the realistic flurry of episodes twisted around the urban streets.
The roaring sounds, vulgar lights, sharp smells and endless clamor of Tokyo city were captured energetically in the Tokyo Lights Fall-Winter 2016 campaign space. Here, we were utterly surrounded by a colorful spectrum of bright neon lights, flickering over Gucci garments while an overlit truck sat among the crowded vision.
The brand had also immersed magically into space with an intergalactic explosion of vintage science fiction images, such as aliens, monsters and robots. The Gucci and Beyond Fall-Winter 2017 campaign room took on inspirations from classic sci-fi films and TV series in the 1950s-70s. A spaceship, swamp creatures, lonely robots and fearful aliens converged with the brand’s garments and accessories, as though our future was being carried into uncharted zones.
Alongside the futuristic display was a garden of nature, representing the brand’s signature fragrance Gucci Bloom. The In Bloom installation emanated a frolicking meadow of dreams and wishes wherein one could relax on a soft couch, and embrace blankets of blooming flowers cradling dainty butterflies.
If classical art were to be redrawn into the themes of the present age, the Gucci Hallucination Spring-Summer 2018 campaign space evokes what it would probably look like. The fascinating artwork by Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal charmingly illustrates an epic scene of Utopia—the word that signifies a “non-place” or a “nowhere.” The characters and storylike scenes in the illusional pictures fill up the walls and ceilings with humor and detail wrapped around pop culture, Greek and Roman mythology, and images from Renaissance. The heavenly vision profoundly uplifts the transformative powers of art and fantasy.
Another eye-catching installation was the Rebellious Romantics Spring-Summer 2016 campaign. Set in the vibrant culture of Berlin, the nonconformist and carefree lifestyle of the youth were craftily framed inside a nightclub’s restroom in glowing pink and red and hexagon-patterned wallpaper, where a young couple in flowery Gucci outfits are seen taking a pause. Two people inside a cubicle bare only their fashionable footwear, which allures mystery and seduction.
Finally, the Come As You Are_RSVP Cruise 2020 campaign space resembled a walk-in closet filled with party paraphernalia. The commercial film shot and directed by Harmony Korine emphasizes the glitz and glamor of high society parties in the 1980s, swirling around limousines, paparazzi, jewelry, champagne, cigars, wild dancing and loud music. Plain white party dinnerware and cutlery mix with brightly accentuated Gucci accessories.
The entire showcase has paid tribute to the playful spirit of the Gucci brand, and honors the timeless flow of the creative process. We leave the exhibition inspired and replenished, equipped with a much more elevated sense of aesthetics. Gucci has fortified the force of creativity, which refines the invisible line between the lessons of history and the infinite possibilities of the future. It has redefined the essence of “utopia” in art as a compulsively holistic and desirous experience.