SEEK­ING A NEW IDEN­TITY

This sea­son Gucci pushes us to defy the la­bels set upon us by so­ci­ety

AugustMan (Malaysia) - - Report - WORDS BY RU­BIN KHOO PHO­TOS BY GUCCI

AT THE TIME when French philoso­pher Michel Fou­cault de­vel­oped his the­ory of iden­tity, the pop­u­lar view was that one’s iden­tity was fixed. He in­stead prop­a­gated the idea that one’s iden­tity is formed through a con­tin­u­ing dis­course in which in­di­vid­u­als pro­duce par­tic­u­lar modes of iden­tity and sex­u­al­ity. Iden­tity is thus not fixed but de­vel­oped through in­ter­ac­tion with cul­ture.

It is this idea on which Alessan­dro Michele based his fall/win­ter 2018 col­lec­tion for Gucci which seeks to re­volt against the “dis­ci­plinary power” im­posed upon the iden­tity of sub­jects by so­ci­ety. In our world peo­ple tend to be placed in pur­port­edly op­po­site cat­e­gories. For ex­am­ple, nor­mal or ab­nor­mal. But in Gucci, such la­belling ceases to ex­ist. In­stead, Michele has sought to blur the lines be­tween the cat­e­gories. Gucci’s fall/ win­ter 2018 is sym­bolic of this, as it goes against the idea of gen­der la­belling in its ex­plo­ration of iden­tity.

“Iden­tity is nei­ther a nat­u­ral mat­ter nor a pre­set cat­e­gory, which can be im­posed with vi­o­lence. It’s not an im­mutable and fixed fact, rather a so­cial and cul­tural con­struc­tion and, as such, it’s a mat­ter of choice, join­ing, in­ven­tion,” states the press re­lease. “Iden­tity, thus, is a never end­ing process, keen on new de­ter­mi­na­tions each time. The con­scious­ness of how ev­ery­thing is so­cially built, even who we are, opens a field of fresh pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

In push­ing this idea, Gucci sug­gests the idea of a pluri­verse, where so­ci­ety is en­cour­aged to di­verge and spread other ways of think­ing about our­selves in the process of go­ing against pre­set cat­e­gori­sa­tions. By do­ing so, the atyp­i­cal and per­haps, the flawed ap­pear to be ‘nor­mal’ and thus given a new le­git­i­macy.

The per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of this is the Gucci Cyborg, a fig­ure which can over­come du­al­ism and the di­chotomy of iden­tity.

“The Gucci Cyborg is post-hu­man and has no fixed iden­tity of place of ori­gin,” states the South China Morn­ing Post in its re­view of the show. “It’s a bi­o­log­i­cally in­def­i­nite and cul­tur­ally aware crea­ture,” the show’s notes state. “The last and ex­treme sign of a mon­grel iden­tity un­der con­stant trans­for­ma­tion. The sym­bol of eman­ci­pa­tory pos­si­bil­ity through which we can de­cide to be­come what we are.” AM

“THE GUCCI CYBORG IS POST-HU­MAN AND HAS NO FIXED IDEN­TITY OF PLACE OF ORI­GIN”

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