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The significance of Gucci Archetypes, the new Gucci exhibition in Florence

An exhibition that paints a precise picture of the new role played by the luxury brand in the fashion ecosystem

The significance of Gucci Archetypes, the new Gucci exhibition in Florence An exhibition that paints a precise picture of the new role played by the luxury brand in the fashion ecosystem
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Soul Scene Pre-Fall 2017
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Gucci Collectors AW18
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Gucci Collectors AW18
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18

Just a few weeks ago, Alessandro Michele presented his latest collection for Gucci , which was an ode to the brand’s 100 year anniversary. To further commemorate the occasion, last week the brand opened its doors to an exhibition entitled Gucci Garden Archetypes at the Gucci Gardens in Florence, curated by Creative Director Alessandro Michele. The exhibition itself is a multimedia immersive experience which takes the viewer through fifteen of Michele’s most iconic campaigns with each room being dedicated to a specific moment in the designer’s creative vision for the house. 

Gucci Garden Archetypes : Soul Scene Pre-Fall 2017
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017
Soul Scene - Gucci Pre-Fall 2017

In 2015, Michele took creative control of Gucci and took things in a direction that was not only new for the house in itself, but was also an approach that was new to the fashion industry at large. From the moment he took his bow at the end of the Gucci Men’s FW15 show, with each collection and campaign that followed,  the Creative Director and his team have continued to mould a vision that allows the viewer, and the wearer to see fashion in a fully artistic light. His collections and campaigns are in and of themselves a form of contemporary art, that doesn’t just seek to sell clothing, but rather to tell stories, and to create fantasies. This, we’ve witnessed through our screens and billboard ads that depict the elaborate campaigns he has created throughout the years, but with this exhibition, one is able to physically step inside a compilation of all these different worlds created by the Creative Director, and take the time to fully enjoy and understand each interpretation. 

“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. So, I created a playground of emotions that are the same as in the campaigns , because they are the most explicit journey into my imagery,”  Alessandro explained in the notes. 

From the moment one walks up the graffiti covered staircase that opens the exhibition, a strong sense of freedom and artistic rebellion is invoked, which continues to grow along the journey. Throughout the network of rooms in the exhibition, multiple narratives are explored using different mediums such as a circular projection that gives one a first hand experience of the exuberant all Black ensemble from the brand’s Pre-Fall 2017 Campaign that celebrated the elegance of black culture; or the Fall Winter 2018 campaign that was re-interpreted with an infinite room of mirrors, cuckoo clocks, wigs and sneakers. 

Gucci Garden Archetypes : Gucci Collectors AW18
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Gucci Collectors AW18
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18
Gucci Collectors - Gucci AW18

Each space in the exhibition has its own unique aesthetic, but somehow they all hold a common thread aside from the clothing. With each instalment, it covers themes such as sexuality, Black identity, alternate interpretations of beauty, animal rights, innocence, mythicism among others. When viewed as a whole, these themes don’t only paint a reflection of the brand’s work over the past few years, but give us a glimpse of the role that Gucci has played within the sphere of fashion and the larger society at large. This is a role that entails much more than what is seen as the average fashion brand, but entails finding creative and innovative ways to spark conversation on things that are taking place within the larger society. 

Gucci Garden Archetypes : Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Gucci Garden Archetypes : Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020
Come As You Are - Gucci Cruise 2020

As the famous quote goes “an artist’s duty is to reflect the times...” and in finding ways to create and advertise  products that not only reflect the current times but often start conversations around the future, Michele enforces a precedent on how fashion can and should entail more than just clothing. When questioned about the brand’s activism work at the press conference, Michele explained that, apart from formidable marketing, his approach was simply a reflection of who he is, one who is open and interested in learning from the younger generation, and evolving with the times, which is why although the Gucci Archetypes exhibition only offers a small glimpse into his work for the Gucci, more than anything it gives a glance of the brands future and the role that they intend to continue to play in the years to come.