by STIRworldApr 02, 2021
To mark the centenary celebrations of Gucci, the Italian brand has curated an immersive multimedia experience that reimagines 15 advertising campaigns from Italian fashion designer Alessandro Michele's six-year-tenure as the brand's Creative Director. The showcase titled 'Gucci Garden Archetypes' opened recently at the Gucci Garden in Florence and features a network of themed spaces in an array of styles, aesthetics, and spatial layouts that correspond to each of the past campaigns.
Archivio Personale - a set design and event production creative studio based in Florence, Paris, and Milan, has translated the campaigns into a series of interactive, immersive environments. The studio has channelled spatial narratives into these worlds through ingenious interior design produced by a combination of intricate, hand-crafted elements and state-of-the-art technology.
At the entrance, visitors encounter a split-screen view of all the curated spaces from an area resembling an operations centre. Further, mythical ark-builders, intergalactic explorers, horses, dancers, angels, and aliens appear in colourful characters and settings.
The spaces range from a multi-screen spectacle for Gucci Beauty's 'Bold, Bright, and Beautiful' lipstick campaign - with punk singer Dani Miller's now-iconic, beauty convention revolutionising smile, bombarding visitors from multiple angles - to the fragrant, 'floral paradise' of Gucci Bloom. The latter is an imaginary, secluded garden designed for the campaign's faces which includes the star-studded trio of actress Dakota Johnson, feminist artist and photographer, Petra Collins, as well as actress, model, and trans woman Hari Nef. In Michele's eyes, the three of them collectively heralded his new 'inclusive vision of modern femininity'.
The exhibition delves into the notion of an 'archetype' as the prototypical origin of an idea. It does so by displaying the manner in which each of the global fashion house's advertising campaigns have captured a specific irreplicable moment in time that embodies both its parent collection and the multifaceted, daring, and inclusive vision of Michele, through environments that depict a 'journey into his imagination'.
"I thought it was interesting to accompany people in these first six years of adventure, inviting them to cross the imaginary, the narrative, the unexpected, the glitter," says Michele. "I created a playground of emotions that are the same as in the campaigns, because they are the most explicit journey into my imagery," he adds.
Curatorially described as an ‘homage to the elegance of Black culture', the space for the Pre-Fall 2017 campaign contains an all-Black ensemble cast of dancers within a cylindrical showcase area. The section was driven by a desire to shed light on the imperative need for greater representation of the Black community within the fashion industry.
As a tribute to the Parisian youth of the 'May 68' civil unrest, the 2018 Pre-Fall campaign space incorporates a stairway decorated with graffiti, linking both its levels. Elsewhere, a mirrored labyrinth leads to a stately home that was at the core of Gucci's Cruise 2016 campaign, while a vibrantly coloured, 80s nightclub bathroom for the 'Rebellious Romantics' Spring-Summer 2016 campaign occupies its own themed space.
Interdisciplinary artist Ignasi Monreal created an elaborate, hand-painted mural for the 2018 Spring-Summer campaign that required over 900 hours of dedicated work. Cased butterflies, cuckoo clocks, colourful wigs and sneakers occupy shelves running from floor to ceiling of the Fall 2018 campaign area, and spaces from a modernist villa provide the backdrop for the 'party of the century' themed Cruise 2020 campaign exhibit.
Around 150,000 glimmering sequins adorn the walls of the Fall-Winter 2016 collection themed 'Tokyo Lights’. On the other hand, visitors can tour the community of ark-builders from Cruise 2019 or hitch a ride on an LA subway carriage from the Fall-Winter 2015 campaign titled 'Urban Romanticism', - the first campaign in Michele’s tenure.
The exhibition catalogue incorporates original texts from art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, philosopher Emanuele Coccia, artist and researcher Anna Franceschini, curator Antwaun Sargent, and sustainability and culture advisor Shaway Yeh - among a host of leading figures from the cultural scene. Featuring an inventory of images, the catalogue intends to be a continuation of the journey into the curator’s imagination.
In addition to the physical showcase, Gucci has partnered with Roblox, the global online gaming platform for a digital reveal that runs for two weeks following the opening. This aligns with the brand's current explorations of the digital realm by 'envisioning dialogues that meld physical and visual environments'. Within these virtual worlds, visitors will witness their digital avatars metamorphosing into mannequins that soak up colours, textures, and elements from the exhibition spaces, to become unique works of art.