SPECTACLE and showmanship were combined with an innate understanding of contemporary street-wear in the Gucci 2019 Cruise Collection, as the label transformed the promenade of a Roman burial site into a blazing runway. Lit by flaming borders and the eerie flicker of candelabras, models emerged from billowing smoke to reveal a series of men’s and womenswear looks that fused Gucci’s signature bold prints and street-wear styling with layered references to historic Gothicism.
Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s appreciation of costume drama brought together artistic and literary allusions from across historical periods. Renaissance elements, including plush velvets, skeletal embroidery and feathered caps, were blended with Georgian wigs and Victorian tiered dresses in neon lace, suggestive of a lurid Miss Havisham. Passages from Dante’s Divine Comedy were embroidered across garments, while the crucifix ran as a motif throughout the collection, dangling from chokers and appearing as a studded brooch-style embellishment on jackets and dresses.
This debt to historic and religious art was combined with a homage to a set of more contemporary icons. Pop-culture references to Tim Burton and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were brought together with a nod to subculture dressing, from steampunk-style shirts to neon tights straight from the wardrobe of a ‘00s emo.
This blend of youth culture with historic costume afforded a new gravity to the street-wear staples that have come to define the Gucci aesthetic. Applique bomber jackets were reimagined as Tudor doublets, while the Gucci logo emblazoned across sweatshirts and handbags became reminiscent of a heraldic emblem. Despite the theatricality of the surroundings, the collection on display was ultimately a highly wearable encapsulation of contemporary culture.
by Rachel Parker