There isn’t a Creative Director quite like Alessandro Michele.
Sure, the quirkiness behind Demna Gvasalia‘s Balenciaga or the way Glenn Martens breathed new life into Y-Project comes close. But for the man at the helm of the legacy Italian house, Michele has ushered a new wave of over-the-top extravaganza at Gucci.
After assuming the chief title in 2014, the established Creative Director has shaken up protocol and re-invented the label. After high-profile collaborations with North Face and the throwing the traditional fashion calendar out the window, we thought Michele had no more left up his sleeve for this hellscape of a year.
But we thought wrong.
Enter stage-left, Guccifest. From November 16 to the 22, Michele, models, rising creatives, and friends of the house starred in a week-long digital film festival, culminating in Gucci’s Spring 2021 collection. Alongside Michele’s co-directed mini-film, “Ouverture of Something That Never Ended,” 15 young labels got the spotlight to showcase their latest collections.
In lieu of a traditional runway, the multi-part series doesn’t feature the whimsical, costly productions of catwalks or the kitschy, weird-but-in-a-cool-way that typically goes hand-in-hand with the label. Rather, the films focus on the quiet moments in Rome, weaving through the lives of characters including Harry Styles, Florence Welch, Billie Eilish, and Lu Han.
Michele wanted to “set clothes free,” in his interpretation of the fashion film and he delivered. Gucci’s pastel, pearl-bedazzled cardigans, breezy ’70s dresses and denim jorts aren’t just garments– they’re characters just as much as the models and actors hired for the film, extensions of expression and personality for the label.
Guccifest gave a seat at the big kids table to several emerging designers across the world. While viewers may have recognized the names of Collina Strada and Mowalola, fresh faces including Ahluwalia, Shanel Campbell, Stefan Cooke, Cormio, Charles De Vilmorin, JordanLuca, Yueqi Qi, Rave Review, Gui Rosa, Rui, Bianca Saunders, Boramy Viguier, and Gareth Wrighton all debuted collections through short, solo films.
For younger designers, breaking into the saturated industry without massive funding or connections may prove a challenge with or without a massive global pandemic. Traditionally, there has always been a list of bullet points to hit to gain name recognition in the fashion sphere– attend a prestigious college, have well-funded investors or family, connect with a network of well-established industry figures known through prior experiences.
In the eyes of budding creatives, the task to stardom isn’t easy by any means. Many struggle for years working behind the scenes at small ateliers before launching their own lines, which may often be overlooked by the masses in lieu of legacy designers.
In the past, Michele and his Gucci army have been accused of taking too much inspiration from young designers, having claims of plagiarism brought before them. The house’s 2018 Cruise Collection had pieces that artists Stuart Smythe and Milan Chagoury felt were ripped off. In response, Gucci offered both artists a collaboration, which was denied by both parties, and cited fashion as being a marketplace of ideas that’s constantly evolving with our current cultural landscape.
Whether directly related or not, Gucci continues to attempt to highlight young talent, and it’s latest Guccifest is just one way for exposure.
As the Italian house spearheads initiatives spanning across all social justice spheres, the idea that newborn labels should be barred is off the table. For Guccifest’s roster of young designers, alongside Michele, the opportunity is one of a lifetime.
“Meeting [the designers], I had the feeling of being an ‘us:’ We are all doing the same job. It was an interesting dialogue, the designers have their ears to the ground and are very aware,” Michele said.
Each film explores a different section of a designer’s personal journey. Priya Ahluwalia’s Joy chronicles the intersectionality of immigration and culture in her own community. The 2020 LVMH prize-winning London-based designer has been praised for her ethical and sustainable garments while showcasing crisp menswear with an extra coolness factor.
The love story for Black culture and excellence transcends film, with shots of models lounging around in branded boxer shorts and striped matching sets at family dinners. The combination provides a needed, refreshing look at Ahluwalia‘s Black experience as a creative from a Nigerian and Indian background.
Collina Land doesn’t fall too far from the Collina Strada tree. Creative Director Hillary Taymour teamed up with photographer Charlie Engman and multimedia artist Freeka Tet on a hyper realistic, virtual reality cyberscape filled with stylish heros and technicolor fruits. The New York label promotes its own messages of sustainability and inclusivity, a similar motif seen throughout Michele’s Gucci, through a custom video game.
Touching the narrative of fashion’s relationship with natures, avatars and models jump on barren landscapes in hot pink pleather coats and brightly-woven knitwear. A Twitch-Style presentation featuring Moschino-muse Aaron Phillip and Gucci regular Yuniya P, viewers can play the trippy game themselves on the label’s website. Just grab a gaming chair, munchies, and you’ll be set.
At this point, who needs Animal Crossing?
Alongside names you’ve probably heard of if you don’t live under a Guccified monogram canvas rock, lesser known designers sat down to explore their themes through film. Fresh newcomers like Bianca Saunders and Gui Rosa channeled everything from Spike Lee to gas stations.
Graduating from acclaimed fashion school Central Saint Martins this year, Portgual-native Gui Rosa uses a 5-minute runtime to inject cool grunge into the digital film festival’s bloodstream. Showcasing a collection full of spray painted boots, oversized flamenco-esque coats and neon tulle skirts, Rosa’s wonderland through East London’s gritty and grimy car scene shines beyond the black asphalt it’s presented on.
Til Death Do Us Ride is the most arthouse film of the bunch with grained aesthetics, spaghetti western montages, and a smushed banana spelling out Rosa’s name.
While arthouse film thrives throughout European cultural circles, Saunders approach cult-classic director Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It provides a humorous take to a deep introspective conversation involving masculine stereotypes. In her film, The Pedestrian, models aren’t seen as actors, but rather as human beings partaking in conversation with the cameraman while wearing stunning garments.
Saunders said about the film’s concept. “At its core, it’s an examination of masculinity and traditional ideas of dating and sexual politics,” Saunders said about the film’s concept. “It was about seeing how people tick; how five men can respond to the same questions in such different ways. Not just in what they say, but how they stand, their body language, facial expression.”
Although clothes take the backseat to the psychological lens, it’s worth mentioning Saunders’ menswear feels intimately cool with high shoulders and simple patterns. They’re what you’d want your boyfriend to wear– sexy and chic.
Fashion and film have been in a love affair for decades, but the luxury industry’s version of Sundance this year changed the way we think about fashion media. Michele is no stranger to this– in a series of diary entries titled “Notes From The Silence,” the Creative Director urged labels to rethink their massive collections in an effort to embrace the tidal wave of sustainability rocking the industry.
Through the rubble of a global pandemic and calls for an inclusive, rewarding industry, Guccifest was birthed. To endorsement young designers shaping the creation process in a time where everything feels strangely bizarre is unheard of and speaks volumes to the Italian house’s commitment to a better world.
Here’s to hoping a physical Gucci film festival is in our future very soon.
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a34773591/guccifest-emerging-designers/
createdAt:Tue, 24 Nov 2020 17:09:44 +0000
displayType:Long Form Article