In a virtual celebration of the limitless bounds of creativity, Gucci unveiled its Resort 2021 collection in an unprecedented 12-hour livestream event on July 17 as part of Milano Digital Fashion Week. The online presentation attracted 175,000 views and counting—a far cry from the couple hundred A-listers that normally line the runway rows of Gucci’s resort presentations. Titled “Epilogue”, the latest presentation from the Italian luxury house is “a further experimentation aimed at reversing traditional fashion rules and perspectives”, according to a statement from Gucci.
Revealing a nostalgia for the runways of the past but evoking excitement for the runways of the future, find out more about this year’s resort collection, which will be available from October onwards.
Elevating the behind-the-scenes concept to new levels
Committing to this ongoing digital reality and welcoming at-home viewers into the elusive backstage of a collection presentation, Gucci once again flipped the runway model on its head with an all-day live broadcast for its Resort 2021 show. Although creative designer Alessandro Michele hinted a taste of the immersive experience to come a few days prior to the show with a Spotify playlist he himself curated as an “audio representation” of the upcoming collection, the 12-hour event surpassed all expectations with an all-access pass that plopped us in the midst of the action. Instead of a traditional catwalk, viewers were invited to witness just exactly how a major campaign photoshoot unfolds in realtime from hair and makeup prep all the way through to the finished product.
Beginning at 8 am CEST time in Rome’s 16th-century Palazzo Sacchetti, the livestream captured a fly-on-the-wall perspective with a host of cameras strewn throughout for a “show within the show”—a continuation of the school of thought from the instantly-iconic fall/winter 2020 show. Floating between the sunlit gardens and the grandiose halls of the Renaissance-era building, each scene is a natural, unstaged window into the all-hands-on-deck manner in which a collection comes together. “For a whole day anybody will be able to investigate, thanks to suitably arranged cameras, the process through which the design office will embody Gucci’s new advertising campaign,” explained Michele in a release. “What happens to the relation between reality and fiction when prying eyes sneak into the mechanisms of the production of an image?”
“Those who wear the clothes, design the clothes”
Although we see the wondrous fruits of a designer’s labor on the runway, we rarely ever see the faces behind a label’s most coveted designs. In an unexpected twist, Michele decided to showcase Gucci’s leading creatives by enlisting them to be the models for this season’s resort looks. From womenswear and handbag designers to casting and production assistants, every model was a member of the Gucci design team and other offices of the Italian house. “The designers with whom, every day, I share the daze of creation, will become the performers of a new story,” said Michele on the meaningful touch he added in his latest show.
The campaign shots themselves are yet another behind-the-scenes-glimpse into the creative thought process that is often unknown to outsiders with full-body and close-up photographs dotted with sticky notes calling attention to minute details, granting approvals, and jotting down styling ideas.
Tribute to the 70s and Gucci’s archives
In a bold tribute to past sartorial eras, this 76-piece unisex collection mixes vibrant colors with funky patterns in a season embued with nostalgia but re-envisioned with the modernity of today. Silhouettes of the 70s take center stage with flared pants and tailored jackets cinched with chain belts appearing more than once while artful layers of oversized jewelry and crochet handbags accessorize the inspired take. “The period of greatest liberation, which I lived through when I was a child, was the 70s, which were really the golden years of the brand I work for, and I keep going back to them because, for me personally they were the real seeds of change,” stated Michele.
Also paying homage to Gucci’s unbridled legacy, Michele dived into the archives and unearthed Ken Scott’s botanical prints to decorate silk headscarves and suits while reimagined versions of iconic handbag designs like the Gucci Jackie 1961 are the choice resort accessory. Interspersed with the oversized florals and the Italian brand’s signature checks are also an unlikely motif: vegetables. While statues and frescoes adorn the walls and ceilings of the Roman Palazzo backdrop, gourds and greens are scattered around the set and in the models’ hands—a stark contrast to the grandiose location but an eclectic aesthetic in which Gucci excels. Michele’s trademark signature wide-brimmed hats in a palette of candy-colored shades add elements from his own creative impact on Gucci over the past six years as do silk neck-tie blouses in a jubilant affair of mix-and-match ensembles that exude quirky individuality.
“Epilogue” is the final installment in a three-part series of presentations
An experimental journey exploring and questioning the inner workings of the fashion industry, Michele’s three-part presentation series debuted with the fall/winter 2020 show at the Gucci hub back in February. #GucciTheRitual was a celebration of the traditional runway providing guests with a transparent portal into the intricacies of a pre-show backstage. The accompanying collection campaign was the trilogy’s second chapter, continuing Michele’s vision of the candidness of fashion with an at-home photoshoot the models themselves created. Culminating with this digital Resort 2021 collection that championed the House’s own talent, this slightly improvisational final act may have been labeled an “epilogue”, but it signified a beginning instead of an ending. “My fairy tale in three parts wants to generate a questioning about the rules, the roles, and the functions that keep the world of fashion going,” said Michele about this vision. “It was necessary for me to go down that road brimful of love. It was a road that, while I walked, deposited new questions and stirred things up, producing new intuitions. In this sense, the epilogue that I deliver to you is today really feels like an overture. A watershed that closes and opens at the same time, a threshold of a new beginning, from which we try to imagine our tomorrow.”
This may be Gucci’s last resort show
When Michele announced in May he would be amending Gucci’s show schedule and reducing the number of collections unveiled each year—a slower-pace sentiment aligned with many other top designers on their quest to create a more sustainable and ethical industry—many are speculating this may potentially be Gucci’s last resort collection. “For me, ‘Epilogue’ is a symbolic word appropriate for the end of a system—we are looking at a different way of doing things,” hinted Michele. Even if the rumor mill rings true in this case, we are almost certain Michele as an innovator of tradition will continue to redefine high fashion and the imaginative ways in which it is presented for many seasons to come.
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