Gucci Garden Archetypes is a virtual exhibit celebrating the brand's 100th anniversary

Gucci marks its 100th birthday with 'Gucci Garden Archetypes', a multimedia exhibition inspired by the brand's 15 campaigns curated by Creative Director, Alessandro Michele.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : May 27, 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.

Gucci Gothic from Cruise 2019: The immersive exhibits will provide a sneak peek into the mind of Alessandro Michele - Gucci’s current Creative Director | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
Gucci Gothic from Cruise 2019: The immersive exhibits will provide a sneak peek into the mind of Alessandro Michele - Gucci’s current Creative Director Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

Gucci Beauty Lipstick’s campaign featuring punk singer Dani Miller is among the highlights of the exhibition | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
Gucci Beauty Lipstick’s campaign featuring punk singer Dani Miller is among the highlights of the exhibition Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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 control room, featuring a split screen view of its spaces | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
The exhibition control room, featuring a split screen view of its spaces Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

The 2017 Pre-Fall ‘Soul Scene’ exhibit is an homage to Black culture that draws attention to the necessity of greater Black representation in the fashion industry | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
The 2017 Pre-Fall ‘Soul Scene’ exhibit is an homage to Black culture that draws attention to the necessity of greater Black representation in the fashion industry Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

Spring Summer 2016 Rebellious Romantics features a colourful 80s era nightclub bathroom as its setting | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
Spring Summer 2016 Rebellious Romantics features a colourful 80s era nightclub bathroom as its setting Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

Pre-Fall 2018 Gucci Dans Les Rues pays tribute to the civil uprising of May ‘68 through a graffiti laden staircase | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
Pre-Fall 2018 Gucci Dans Les Rues pays tribute to the civil uprising of May ‘68 through a graffiti laden staircase Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

2016’s Fall-Winter Tokyo Lights campaign themed space is adorned with 150,000 glimmering sequins on its walls | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
2016’s Fall-Winter Tokyo Lights campaign themed space is adorned with 150,000 glimmering sequins on its walls Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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 Cruise 2020 Come AsYouAre RSVP campaign is set within a modernist villa with a ‘party of the century’ theme | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
The Cruise 2020 Come AsYouAre RSVP campaign is set within a modernist villa with a ‘party of the century’ theme Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

Cruise 2016 the Dionysus Dance features a mirrored labyrinth leading up to a stately home | Gucci Garden Archetypes | STIRworld
Cruise 2016 the Dionysus Dance features a mirrored labyrinth leading up to a stately home Image: Courtesy of Gucci

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.

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