SEEKING A NEW IDENTITY
This season Gucci pushes us to defy the labels set upon us by society
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”