GUCCI turns 100, and celebrates with an immersive multimedia show in its Florence garden—and on Roblox
Guccio Gucci founded his eponymous fashion house in Florence a century ago, and this is where the brand is mounting a multimedia celebration this year. Called Gucci Garden Archetypes, the exhibit delves into multifarious inspirations of music, art, travel and pop culture that have resonated through the label’s campaigns through the years.
“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 Alessandro Michele, Gucci creative director and the curator of the exhibition. “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.”
MYTH AND MAGIC
From Tokyo to Los Angeles, and from Northern Soul to May 68, the exhibition features mythical arkbuilders, intergalactic explorers, horses, dancers, angels, and aliens all making appearances in this expansive exploration of Michele's kaleidoscopic vision.
Cutting-edge technology, elaborate hand-crafting and innovative interior design create a sequence of distinct, immersive worlds, designed by ArchivioPersonale, the design studio that has transformed Alessandro Michele's vision into narrative spaces reflecting and enhancing the uniqueness of his aesthetics.
Accessed via what appears to be a behind-the-scenes operations center, visitors first get a split-screen live view of the exhibition they are about to enter. Inside, a network of themed spaces and corridors bring the intricate world-building of 15 Gucci campaigns to life.
Gucci Beauty’s lipstick campaign for the “bold, bright and beautiful” is transformed into a multiscreen extravaganza, in which we are dazzled from multiple angles by the now-famous smile belonging to punk singer Dani Miller that has overthrown beauty conventions in the cosmetic industry.
Viewers also enter the scented floral paradise of Gucci Bloom, a hidden imaginary garden becomes a place of freedom for the three stars of the campaign: actress Dakota Johnson, feminist artist and photographer Petra Collins, and actress, model and trans woman Hari Nef. Charismatic and unconventional, this trio collectively ushered in Alessandro Michele's new, inclusive vision of modern femininity.
In one room, a circular projection creates the immersive sensation of being out ‘on the floor’ with the exuberant dancers of Pre-Fall 2017, with its pioneering casting of an all-black ensemble, in what Michele described as a “homage to the elegance of black culture,” by putting it in the foreground, this campaign responded to the need for a better representation of the Black community in the fashion industry.
Pre-Fall 2018’s homage to the Parisian youth of ‘May 68’ on the 50th anniversary is evoked by a graffitied stairway that connects the two floors of the space. For Spring Summer 2018, interdisciplinary artist IgnasiMonreal created in almost 900 hours of painstaking work, a giant hand-painted mural that covers the walls and ceiling.
Elsewhere, 150,000 shimmering sequins blanket the walls in a dazzling reimagining of Fall Winter 2016 campaign, a trip through Tokyo, while a museum-style diorama provides a guide to the creatures, aliens and explorers of the Fall Winter 2017 campaign’s trip to outer space.
The obsessive collections of Fall Winter 2018 campaign fill one space from floor to ceiling, as visitors are surrounded with shelves stacked with thousands of cased butterflies, as well as hundreds of cuckoo clocks, colorful wigs and sneakers. Guests can also find themselves in the 80s nightclub bathroom of the Berlin-set Spring Summer 2016 campaign, and behind the scenes in the sprawling modernist villa that hosted the Cruise 2020 campaign ‘party of the century’.
Visitors can even enter a mirrored labyrinth to go inside a stately home like the one at the heart of the Cruise 2016 campaign, take a trip through the breathtakingly world of Cruise 2019’s epic community of ark-builders, and ride on an LA subway carriage like the one that made an appearance back in the Fall Winter 2015 campaign, the first by Alessandro Michele.
The Gucci Garden Archetypes catalog will be the continuation of this journey into the imagination of Michele, complemented by original texts by personalities of the cultural scene including art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, philosopher Emanuele Coccia, artist and researcher Anna Franceschini, curator Antwaun Sargent, and sustainability and culture advisor ShawayYeh.
Coherently with Gucci’s explorations of the digital realms, a virtual tour will also be available online, giving the possibility to visit the exhibition. Stepping further down this path, envisioning dialogues melding physical and virtual environments, the House has once again partnered with the global online platform Roblox – bringing in their metaverse a captivating Gucci Garden shared experience that will open its doors on May 17, for two weeks only.
As visitors explore this virtual gallery freely inspired by the Gucci campaigns exhibited, the digital avatars transform into mannequins absorbing elements of the exhibition, turning themselves into unique digital artworks.